My guidelines for the re-draft
- I stay with the picks they selected, it means that trades that happened in the actual draft will stay in place.
- If I pick a new player, it’ll be within ten picks of the Browns pick. I’ve seen re-drafts on the internet where Russell Wilson was the 1st pick in the 2012 draft when he was the 75th pick in the actual draft. I’m not going crazy revisionist history just picking players that were in the range of their original pick.
Check out the rest of the Re-Draft Series
And now the final Re-Draft…..the 2014 NFL Draft
8th overall pick: DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (Originally selected 13th overall by St. Louis)
Original pick: CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
One of the biggest draft busts of all time, Justin Gilbert was a shocking pick by the Browns. Not attending his pro day or even meeting within him until a week before the draft, the Browns traded up one spot to secure him.
He lasted only two seasons with Cleveland before trading him at the end of last preseason to Pittsburgh for a late round pick. His lone highlight, a pick six against Andrew Luck and the Colts in 2014.
Meanwhile, Aaron Donald has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. A dominant force on the Rams defensive line, Donald has 28 sacks and two All-Pro selections in his first three seasons. Well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
22nd overall pick: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State (Originally selected 28th overall by Carolina)
Original pick: QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
In my opinion, he ranks right there with JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf as the biggest draft busts ever. With all the hype generated by him despite his off the field attention, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam forced Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine select him with the 22nd overall pick.
Manziel was showing progress as an NFL quarterback in his second season but his demons with substance abuse as well as incidents with his now ex-girlfriend derailed his NFL career.
Benjamin made noise as Jameis Winston’s top target at Florida State, catching the game winning touchdown in the National Championship game in 2014 against Auburn. His size and big play making ability made him one of five receivers drafted in the first round.
He missed all of 2015 with an ACL injury but 2014 and 2016 showed he can be an impact receiver in the NFL with 1,008 yards with nine touchdowns in 2014 and 941 yards with seven touchdowns in 2016.
35th overall pick: OG Joel Bitonio, Nevada
Despite quarterback Derek Carr being on the board, I’m sticking with the original pick the Browns made in Bitonio.
Bitonio came in and was a starter from day one in Cleveland. Lining up between Joe Thomas and Alex Mack would seem like a big pressure, not for Joel.
He’s missed time with injuries but when he’s on the field, the offensive line and running game has looked great and among the best in football. The Browns rewarded Bitonio with a big extension earlier this offseason.
71st overall pick: LB Christian Kirksey, Iowa
Once again I’m sticking with the original pick. Kirksey came in and was lining alongside to Karlos Dansby but was overshadowed but you could see the kid belonged in the league.
Last year, he was one of the few bright spots on the 1-15 team. He had 134 total tackles his first two seasons combined. In 2016, he had 143 total tackles along with 2.5 sacks.
94th overall pick: RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State (Originally selected 103rd overall by Atlanta)
Original pick: RB Terrance West, Towson
Terrance West was one of the feel good stories in the 2014 Draft. A kid with a tough up bringing who worked his tail off to get an opportunity to go to college. He rushed for 2,509 yards his final season at Towson and NFL teams took notice.
His rookie season he split time with Isaiah Crowell and West ran for 673 yards and four touchdowns. Character issues and the fact the Browns drafted Duke Johnson made West expendable and they traded him to Tennessee before the 2015 season.
West has now found a home in Baltimore and he had a solid season last year with 774 yards and five touchdowns.
Freeman has become one of the best dual threat running backs in football. The last two seasons have seen Freeman run for 1,000 yards consecutively and he’s also had at least 54 catches and 462 yards receiving in both seasons. It earned him two straight Pro Bowl selections and helped Atlanta reach the Super Bowl last season.
127th overall pick: FS Tre Boston, North Carolina (Originally selected 128th overall by Carolina)
Original pick: CB Pierre Desir, Lindenwood
I remember being pumped when the Browns took him. I mocked him in the second round to Cleveland and when the Browns got him in the fourth, I called it the steal of the draft.
He showed flashes when given an opportunity at the end of 2014 and looked better than Justin Gilbert. He started six games in 2015 but those flashes weren’t there and he struggled.
A new regime saw Desir’s time in Cleveland come to an end. He played for San Diego last season and signed with Seattle earlier this offseason. Hopefully Desir can resurrect his career because the talent is there.
Carolina took Tre Boston one pick behind Cleveland. A rotational player his first two seasons, he made an impact with interceptions in the 2014 and 2015 playoffs. He started ten games last season and had his best season with 52 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions.