It was bad enough the Cleveland Browns did not draft a receiver. But Browns general manager Ray Farmer’s explanations for ignoring the position might be worse – and that says a lot.
A report surfaced during the draft stating that Browns receiver Josh Gordon could be suspended for a year after failing a drug test. In addition, Browns receiver Nate Burleson fractured his left arm during a recent minicamp. Cleveland could have added a quality receiver in the draft and addressed a huge need.
Instead, Farmer traded away the fourth overall pick to Buffalo, and the Bills drafted Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. Cleveland eventually selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 pick.
"We were very close to turning in the card," Farmer told The Monday Morning Quarterback. "We very easily could have turned in the card with Sammy’s name on it … Even if Sammy turns into Randy Moss, Justin Gilbert can be every bit as good as Patrick Peterson. That’s how much talent he has. And in the game today, I feel cornerbacks are as important as wide receivers, and maybe harder to find. So I have no regrets about it, no."
Farmer apparently regrets selecting a receiver with any of his picks.
"I would tell our fans that are in panic mode because we didn’t draft a wide receiver, that patience really tells the tale," Farmer told CantonRep.com. "There’s plenty of opportunity to add players, to change the roster and really make a difference. I’d like to ask everybody one question, as well. How many of the receivers that were with the Seattle Seahawks during their entire season last year and through the beginning of the playoffs were drafted players?"
OK, we can play along and leave Percy Harvin out of the equation.
Former Seahawks receiver Golden Tate was a second-round pick 2010. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse were undrafted. However, the Seahawks' rushing offense ranked fourth last season, and running back Marshawn Lynch had the sixth-most rushing yards in the NFL. Cleveland’s rushing offense was ranked 27th, and even though Ben Tate has potential, he does not have Lynch’s résumé.
Oh, and rumor has it Seattle’s defense was pretty good, too.
Cleveland signed five undrafted receivers after the draft: Blake Jackson (Oklahoma State), Chandler Jones (San Jose State), Kenny Shaw (Florida State), Willie Snead (Ball State) and Jonathan Krause (Vanderbilt). One of those players could develop into a standout.
Until that happens, Farmer is probably better off not defending his decision to overlook receivers in the draft.
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