In the opening round of the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday, Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer made the decision to trade back from their no. 4 spot with the Buffalo Bills, who jumped up and chose top wide receiver Sammy Watkins. At the time, not many people questioned the decision to pass on Watkins, seeing as the team is in possession of the leading receiver from 2013, Josh Gordon.
However, less than 24 hours later, things got complicated. Word began to spread on Friday, not only that Gordon is possibly facing a year-long suspension for a second failed drug test, but that higher ups within the organization had known about this for two weeks, at least.
It was then that everyone piled on the Browns for passing on Watkins to trade back and select CB Justin Gilbert instead. Although, with this being the deepest draft at the position in quite some time, all hope was not lost as there were some talented wideouts still on the board for the second round and beyond. The Browns would surely draft one, maybe even two, of them, right?
Well, after seven rounds, no, the team did not look in the direction of a wide receiver and now people have even more questions for Farmer and company, and he addressed some of those on Saturday including the status of Gordon, which he can’t speak much about at the moment.
“I know it’s frustrating for a lot of people not to have information and it seems like we’re somehow avoiding the topic,” Farmer told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “But the reality is that, to some degree, my hands are tied for what I can say (about Gordon). So there is really nothing I can contribute to this conversation other than I have no comment or I will add clarity when there is clarity.”
Farmer then had a message for the Browns fans that are in “panic mode” that there will be opportunities to address the wide receiver position.
“I would tell the fans that are in panic mode because we didn’t draft a wide receiver is that patience really tells the tale,” he said. “There are plenty of opportunities for us to address what everyone would believe is a need but in our opinion, there is plenty of opportunity to add players, to change the roster and to really make a difference.”
He had better address it in some form or fashion, especially if Gordon does end up having to sit out the season. With their second pick in the first round, the team traded up for Johnny Manziel, and he’s going to need some weapons to toss the ball to. Putting Manziel in a position to succeed, should he win the starting job, is crucial and Gordon being absent would hinder that mightily.