2014 NFL Draft: Browns, Farmer 'excited' to get CB Justin Gilbert
Two trades -- one down, one up a spot -- carried the Cleveland Browns to No. 8 overall with just one quarterback off the board. But GM Ray Farmer was not in the market for a quarterback. CB Justin Gilbert was the man the team coveted.
With 20 different starting quarterbacks and eight different head coaches since 1999, the Cleveland Browns are hungry for stability.
General manager Ray Farmer said Thursday that was his focus when he moved back in the draft -- from fourth overall to ninth, and then up one spot in a second trade -- to select Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.
"Joe Haden, Justin Gilbert, (free agent addition) Donte Whitner -- I'm getting excited," Farmer said. "I probably shouldn't go there. We're excited about having corners that we think can go out, play press, get after people and give us a chance to turn the ball over. We've improved our defense. We're going to do some other things to make our overall team better, but we definitely like the corner combination that we're going to have. Hopefully, we keep those guys together for a long time."
Gilbert might have been available with the ninth pick, but Farmer traded a fifth-round selection to the Minnesota Vikings to make certain he added the second tall, physical corner that new head coach Mike Pettine wanted.
"Justin Gilbert the player -- He's long. He's fast. He's explosive. He's a playmaker," Farmer said. "He plays like a Brown. No. 1 thing we talk about when we talk about corners is they've got to cover like Browns. He's got great arm length. He's got the speed. He's got the ball skills. I know some people have questioned his tackling. We cover like Browns, tackling was good, but it doesn't necessarily need to be great. We understand exactly who he is, what he is."
When Cleveland was on the clock at No. 4, only one quarterback -- UCF's Blake Bortles to Jacksonville -- was off the board.
Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater were still seated in Radio City Music Hall two-and-a-half hours after the draft began as the Browns contemplated their next move: how to invest the No. 26 overall pick, which was acquired from the Indianapolis Colts.
For those still waiting in Ohio, a gentle reminder: the last time the Browns had two picks in the first round was just two years ago. Both players -- Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden -- are long gone.
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