Johnny Manziel will go down in Cleveland Browns infamy, but in truth, he wasn’t even the Browns’ biggest first-round draft bust in 2014.
Cornerback Justin Gilbert, the No. 8 overall pick in 2014, flamed out fast in Cleveland and his career might be over after he was suspended four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, according to multiple reports including NFL.com.
In the 2014 draft, 14 picks before the Browns took Manziel, Cleveland selected Gilbert. He was horrible, starting three games in two years before the Browns dumped him. Seven of the nine picks after Gilbert have made at least one Pro Bowl, including superstars Odell Beckham and Aaron Donald. The Browns could have thrown a dart at a list of the best names on the board at No. 8 and had a better than 50 percent chance of landing a Pro Bowler. Instead, in a fantastic draft, they picked someone who contributed practically nothing. Manziel got infinitely more headlines, but Gilbert was the more disastrous pick.
Gilbert was with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, playing a bit role in 12 games. He has never shown the ability or attitude to be a legit NFL cornerback, and it’s hard to believe a team would take a chance on him knowing he’s suspended.
Gilbert lasted just two seasons with the Browns. He was ripped by teammates for having a terrible attitude after his rookie season, in which he started just two games. In Gilbert’s second year he barely played on defense, started just one game and was traded to Pittsburgh for a sixth-round pick before last season. Amazingly enough, even getting a sixth-round pick back for Gilbert was a steal for the Browns.
Gilbert should probably be happy he was in the same draft class as Manziel, a lightning rod for attention and criticism. Gilbert didn’t get half the attention, though we shouldn’t underestimate how much that pick set the Browns back.
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