The Cleveland Browns shocked everyone. Twice. Nope, three times. When fan favorite Sammy Watkins was there at #4 the fans were riled up. The Browns traded down and STOLE a 1st rounder from the playoff less Buffalo Bills for next season. Were they thinking Blake Bortles? One rumor had them wanting Greg Robinson. It’s possible we’ll never know. What we do know is the Browns moved to #9. Then the Browns traded again. In what is becoming a biennial tradition, the Minnesota Vikings scoot down a pick with us, grabbing a late round pick in the draft. The fans were pumped again! Johnny! Johnny! Johnny! Was this the year the Browns fix their quarterback decay?…..NOPE! The Browns pull a fast one and grab Justin Gilbert, the home run threat cornerback from Oklahoma St. Hopefully this is better than our last 1st round Oklahoma St pick. And it should be.
Justin Gilbert will slide into the opposite side corner from Joe Haden and instantly make this one of the most fearful secondaries in the league. Gilbert is smart, quick and tricky. You’ll see him play off and make it look like the receiver is open only to slide in and pick the ball off. And when he picks the ball off…look out. The kid can find the endzone. He’s quick and agile and glides across the field. Haden and Gilbert are a horrifying duo. There’s not going to be much to get past these guys.
This will help move Buster Skrine to the nickle and 3rd corner to make him a solid option there. Skrine at 3rd corner is great, Skrine at 2nd corner is average. This is really going to help this D be more aggressive which is exactly how Gilbert plays. With Gilbert and Haden taking out the receivers expect a lot of pressure from the linebackers and a scary though, freedom to let Donte Whitner roam. He won’t be stuck doubling up on Skrine’s receiver or shadowing up top to make sure the corners don’t get burned. These corners won’t get burned.
The only problem with this pick I have is we already have a corner in similar abilities in Haden. It would have been nice to get the more physical Darqueze Dennard to go against more physical wideouts. Haden is tough but toughness only goes so far with bigger receivers, same applies to Gilbert. It does become clear the kinda defense we’re gonna run. These corners are going to be all over the field and will really help in zone coverage with their ability to get to their assignments quicker leaving more time for delays which will lead to confusion for the quarterback and throws that end up going right to the defense.
And quickly about the trade. Great trade! People will be upset about the lost of Sammy Watkins but if the Browns are able to grab a wideout later in this draft (2rd or 3rd round) where there is still supposed to be great talent at the wideout position this will be one of the best trades the Browns could have pulled off. Remember we needed a #2, not exactly in need of a #1. Also next year will look amazing with two #1 picks in back to back seasons. The future will decide but based on now, I think it’s a great trade. It again depends on how the rest of the first and 2nd round play out, and obviously next year’s pick.
What’s next? The quarterback slide is on. With only the Arizona Cardinals as a possible quarterback hungry team in between now and the Browns, it’s very possible for the Browns to come away with Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater. Look out for sleepers in the Dallas Cowboys, supposedly in love with Manziel and the Cincinnati Bengals who I detailed here. The Browns also were close to a deal with the Tennessee Titans at #11 so it’ll be interesting to see who they’re targeting.
What did you think of the trade and pick?