Cleveland Browns

Revisiting the Browns/Bills 2014 Draft Trade 

The Buffalo Bills traded wide receiver and former first round pick Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday, three years after moving up in the NFL Draft to select him.

That struck a trade with the Cleveland Browns to move from 9th to 4th in the draft order to draft Watkins. 

This moved changed the course of both franchises and now since the major player has moved on from the team, I thought it’s appropriate to look back at who “won” this trade.

The Cleveland Browns were set to take Sammy Watkins, who was the top rated wide receiver in the draft class by many experts and would’ve been joining then All-Pro Josh Gordon as well as Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron on a very potential high powered offense.

Then Buffalo offered quite the haul to move back

  • 9th overall pick 
  • 2015 first round pick
  • 2015 fourth round pick 

Browns made the deal and slid back in the order to let Buffalo take Watkins. 

Over the last three seasons, Watkins has shown his ability to be a playmaker at the wide receiver position. He’s caught 153 passes for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns. However, he’s dealt with a lot of injuries and has missed 11 games during those seasons including 8 last season. 

People have criticized Buffalo for making the deal when had they stayed where they were, they could’ve taken Odell Beckham who was the ultimately the 12th pick and has become one of the top three receivers in football.

As for the Cleveland side of the deal, they ended up moving up one spot from 9 to 8 to draft Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert. He never showed any potential as a cornerback and his immaturity and attitude had him off the team prior to last season and is currently out of the league. Arguably the biggest draft bust in Browns history.

In 2015, the Browns selected offensive lineman Cam Erving with the first round pick they acquired from Buffalo. He’s been all over the line as a guard, center, and currently as a right tackle competing with Shon Coleman for the starting position. 

He has struggled during the beginning of his career but with a guy like Mitchell Schwartz who took time to develop and was an All-Pro, I’m still holding out some hope for Erving.

With the fourth round pick, the team drafted safety Ibraheim Campbell out of Northwestern. In two seasons with the Browns, Campbell has been mostly a reserve at the strong safety position. Last season he had 48 tackles in 14 games (8 starts). 

He’s currently the starting strong safety but suffered a concussion after trying to make a tackle against New Orleans in the first preseason. Campbell also has first round pick Jabrill Peppers breathing down his neck for that starting role so it’s unclear what his future in Cleveland holds. 

Who won the trade?

Looking at who got what in this deal, Buffalo won this trade. They got productivity on their end of the deal despite Watkins’ injuries. Gilbert, Erving and so far Campbell haven’t made the impact to justify the trade. 

Former Browns general manager Ray Farmer is highly criticized for moves like this one from his short run as the top guy in football operations for the Browns as he should be. 

His stance on wide receivers not making as much impact as other positions would still leaves Browns fans shaking their heads at the stupidity in that statement while Watkins as well Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin who were first round picks in the 2014 Draft and continue to make game impacting moves for their respective teams. 

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