Grading Cleveland Browns’ 2014 Draft Picks After The Preseason

Grading Cleveland Browns' 2014 Draft Picks After Preseason

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

No NFL team will be as immediately impacted in 2014 by their rookies as the Cleveland Browns. Obviously, Johnny Manziel hogs the spotlight, but a plethora of other first-year players will no doubt factor into the Browns’ season. Let’s grade the team’s 2014 draft picks now that preseason has wrapped up.

Justin Gilbert (Round 1, 8th Overall)

Justin Gilbert Cleveland Browns
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Justin Gilbert (Round 1, 8th Overall)

Justin Gilbert Cleveland Browns
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

A rough two final two weeks of preseason has bumped Gilbert down the depth chart, as Buster Skrine is slated to start with Joe Haden in Week 1. Mike Pettine has even said that Gilbert has taken a “step backwards.” But have no fear, the Browns have a lot of confidence in the Oklahoma State product.

Grade: C+

Johnny Manziel (Round 1, 22nd Overall)

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel (Round 1, 22nd Overall)

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Football has shown improvement since his first snaps against the Washington Redskins. While his footwork in the pocket continues to be an issue, he has excelled throwing on the run. About Manziel taking over as the starter -- it’s a matter of when, not if.

Grade: B

Joel Bitonio (Round 2, 35th Overall)

Joel Bitonio Cleveland Browns
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Bitonio (Round 2, 35th Overall)

Joel Bitonio Cleveland Browns
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike his fellow Browns rookies drafted before him, Bitonio is slated as a starter. He moves exceptionally well for a guard, and will be counted on for snow plowing duty in the ground game. The Browns displayed their trust in Bitonio by picking him early in the second round ahead of receivers Marqise Lee and Jordan Matthews.

Grade: A

Christian Kirksey (Round 3, 71st Overall)

Christian Kirksey Cleveland Browns
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Kirksey (Round 3, 71st Overall)

Christian Kirksey Cleveland Browns
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest knock on the 233-pound Kirksey entering training camp was his relatively small stature for a linebacker. However, Kirksey flashed promise in pass coverage in August, even making an interception against the Rams in the final week of exhibition play. He’s earned the praise of fellow linebacker Karlos Dansby.

Grade: A-

Terrance West (Round 3, 94th Overall)

Terrance West Cleveland Browns
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Terrance West (Round 3, 94th Overall)

Terrance West Cleveland Browns
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

While he’s had an up-and-down preseason, West is in a very good position to make an impact for the Browns in 2014. There are whispers out of Cleveland that West will bump off Tate at the top of the depth chart. I'll believe it when I see it, but as of right now, it’s hard not to like West’s promise as a dual-threat player.

Grade: B

Pierre Desir (Round 4, 127th Overall)

Pierre Desir Cleveland Browns
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Desir (Round 4, 127th Overall)

Pierre Desir Cleveland Browns
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

A knee injury will likely sideline Desir in Week 1, but the small-school product has overcome so much to even get to the NFL that it won’t derail him. The Browns cut sophomore pro Leon McFadden, indicating that they have faith in Desir to become a fixture in the secondary.

Grade: B-


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