By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on June 17, 2014
The 2014 draft for the Cleveland Browns was a solid one as far as individual team drafts go. The Browns were able to move around in the draft to nab the players they coveted, even picking up a 2015 first-rounder. This season is yet another transition period for the Browns, but this draft looks to be full of future contributors in Cleveland. Here's a look at the Browns' draftees and their impact on the franchise.
The Browns traded down to draft Gilbert in the hopes that he would take over one of the Browns' starting cornerback spots. Gilbert has decent size and blazing speed, which should enable him to have a solid career in the NFL. Cleveland is investing in its defense, so look for Gilbert to develop into one of the better defensive backs in the league along with fellow rookie CB Pierre Desir.
The Browns had Manziel rated as their best quarterback on the board and were able to maneuver to draft him. Cleveland has told Manziel that he is the backup quarterback as of now, but his playmaking ability should allow him to compete for the starting role. If Manziel gets the reps in Kyle Shanahan's offense and stays out of trouble off the field, look for Manziel to be a mainstay under center for the Browns.
Bitonio is a versatile guy who can play at any position on the offensive line. His football IQ, mixed with his ferocity, make him a viable option for the Browns' needs on the line. Since he's able to play multiple positions, expect Bitonio to have an extremely stable career in the NFL. If he's able to master a certain position, he could potentially be Pro Bowl player, something the Browns have been able to produce with Joe Thomas and Alex Mack.
Kirksey was truly the only questionable pick for the Browns in this year's draft. Deep with linebackers, the Browns selected Kirksey in the third round. It will be interesting to see what his role will be on the team if he makes the 53-man roster. His agility and ability to get to ball carriers may put him on the roster, but it will be tough for him to see significant action in Cleveland with the amount of competition.
West heads into his rookie season competing for the chance to back-up running back Ben Tate. West appears to have been a Kyle Shanahan-inspired choice because he is comparable to Alfred Morris, whom the Redskins drafted in 2012. West should see a solid amount of playing time in his rookie year, especially if Tate fails to stay healthy. He has the physical makeup to have a long career, but his body has taken a beating from his days at Towson.
Desir is the player the Browns drafted with the most upside. Off-the-field issues nearly derailed his career, but he was able to overcome and be a fourth-round pick. Desir's size (6-foot-1) and athletic ability were enough to get him drafted, but the transition from Division-III football to the NFL could be tough. There will be a learning curve for Desir, but he and Justin Gilbert could develop into big-time players in Cleveland.
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