2014 NFL Draft: First Round Trade Tracker
The Buffalo Bills opened the trading window in the 2014 NFL Draft with an aggressive move up to grab Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Follow all of the first round trade action.
With the television cameras transfixed on Johnny Manziel and the Twitterverse in full pandemonium about where the Texas A&M quarterback would be drafted Thursday night, Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer finally ended Johnny Football's free fall by trading up to the No. 22 overall pick shortly before 11 p.m. ET.
It put an end to the dramatic Green Room watch, where Manziel sat stoically as the Jacksonville Jaguars opted for local product Blake Bortles with the third pick and then team after team opted to pass on the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner. Heck, even Jerry Jones avoided the temptation to add another shiny hood ornament in Dallas and drafted a guard.
The Browns, who were considered a potential landing spot for Manziel with the fourth overall pick, instead landed him 18 spots later.
"It was tough, but I went into this saying whatever team drafted me, whatever team fell in love with me, it would be the right situation for me," Manziel said. "A little bit of anxiousness, a little bit of nervousness, but at the same time there's a higher power that has a plan for me."
It was the highlight of a very busy night for Farmer, who made three deals in the first round.
The first was to trade back five spots with the Buffalo Bills, who made an aggressive move to climb into the fourth overall pick to select dynamic Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
"I thought they was messing with me when they said they was going to pick me," Watkins said. "But they trusted in me and they believed in me, and now it's time to start playing."
In addition to the ninth pick, the Bills parted with their first- and fourth-round picks in 2015.
"Very high cost," Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon acknowledged. "We thought it was a calculated risk and a risk we were willing to take. The high costs not making the playoffs is something we weighed in and we thought this guy was going to get us to the playoffs. We think for us, the Bills organization, Mr. Wilson and the Bills nation out there, it was well worth it.
The Browns clearly had a plan in mind, because they bartered a fifth round pick this year to the Minnesota Vikings to move back up one spot to get Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert to pair with Joe Haden.
"The thought process was simple," said Farmer. "We had an opportunity to move back, pick up some future considerations. We knew where we were in the draft and we felt like it was a good opportunity to continue to improve our team with the number of picks we could get so we made a deal to move back to Buffalo (No. 9).
"Second trade was another opportunity to get the player we thought we wanted. It didn't cost us much to move back into position when he was on the board. We took that opportunity, and we took the pick with Justin Gilbert."
The Vikings closed out Thursday night's proceedings with their second trade of the night, dealing back into the first round to select Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
"From the moment we arrived here tonight we had our minds made up that we were just going to enjoy the moment," Bridgewater said. "It was a long night, but my momma always tells me, 'Be anxious for nothing.'
"I can look back now and say today is in the past and get started on my career."
FIRST-ROUND TRADE RECAP
--Bills acquire No. 4 overall pick, select Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins; Browns acquire No. 9 2014, Bills first and fourth round picks in 2015.
Comment: Stevie Johnson, who is now potential trade bait, is not a true No. 1 wideout and the Bills needed to add a dynamic playmaker to aid the development of quarterback EJ Manuel. If the Bills' pick is in the top 10 again next year, it's also a coup for the Browns to move back five spots in a deep draft and pick up another first rounder in '15.
--Browns acquire No. 8 overall pick, select Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert; Vikings receive No. 9 overall pick and fifth round pick (No. 145).
Comment: The Vikings were considered a potential landing spot for Gilbert, but accepted a fifth round pick to move down one spot and get UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr. Gilbert is an ideal physical fit for today's NFL - 6-feet, 202 pounds and was credited with a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. Combined with Haden, the Browns now potentially have a pair of shutdown corners - and Cleveland twice passed on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.
--Saints acquire No. 20 overall pick, select Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks; Cardinals receive Saints' first (No. 27) and third round (No. 91) picks this year.
Comment: The Saints went from being loaded at wide receiver a few years ago to being in need of a dynamic playmaker who can scare defenses on screens and also stretch the field. While Cooks lacks size at 5-feet-10, he is a speed blazer who ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. Giving up a third round pick in a draft deep in receiver talent is a bit steep, but the Saints believe Cooks is the missing ingredient to the offense getting back to the truly scary level for opposing defenses.
--Browns acquire No. 22 overall pick, select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel; Eagles receive Browns' first (No. 26) and third round (No. 83) picks.
Comment: A very low-risk move for the Browns, aside from the potential drama Johnny Football brings to Cleveland. The Browns were considered a potential landing spot for Manziel at No. 4. Instead, the team gets him 18 spots lower, where the pressure to start immediately will be drastically diminished. Farmer is comfortable with Brian Hoyer as his starting quarterback in 2014, giving Manziel a year to be groomed - unless he goes all Russell Wilson in training camp and takes the NFL by storm from Day 1.
--Vikings acquire No. 32 overall pick, select Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater; Seahawks receive Vikings' second (No. 40) and fourth round (No. 108) picks this year.
Comment: Bridgewater was NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated prospect through much of 2013, and remained NDS analyst Dane Brugler's No. 1 prospect leading up to the draft. His stock steadily fell during the pre-draft process, particularly after a poor pro day workout. But film shows Bridgewater to be a highly accurate passer and the most pro-ready passer of this class coming out of a pro-style offense.
In Minnesota, he doesn't have to play right away with Matt Cassel re-signed - giving Bridgewater a year to bulk up in the weight room. And by trading into the first round to get Bridgewater, the Vikings hold a fifth-year option on his contract, an asset they would not have had should they have waited until the second round to nab a quarterback for the future.
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