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Browns Deal Former First-Round Pick Justin Gilbert To Steelers

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The Cleveland Browns have continued to purge all things from the Ray Farmer era as they dealt away former No. 8 overall pick (2014) Justin Gilbert to the Pittsburgh Steelers for an undisclosed draft pick.

It was unclear whether Gilbert was going to make the Browns final cut and the trade signals yet another wasted pick from one of the worst franchises in sports.

“Justin did some things better (this preseason),” coach Hue Jackson said on a conference call Friday. “Everything has an opportunity to be evaluated, everything that every player’s done. Our goal and our job is to make sure that we keep the best players here.

“Do I think he’s improved? Yeah. Are we going to sit down and evaluate and talk through every opportunity that a young man has had and we can see where they fit for our football team? We’re going to do that also.”

The 6-foot, 200 pound cornerback from Oklahoma State was far from a sure thing, but he wasn’t expected to completely wash out after just two years.  Much of the reason for his dismissal was likely the fresh start that the Cleveland franchise is attempting to pursue…again.

How do you become a perennial last place team? 

From 2011-2015 the Browns first round picks read as this:  Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden, Barkevious Mingo, Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving.  Only 2015 picks Shelton and Erving are still on the team and neither has looked anything like an impact player.

This is a good sign for the Browns as many teams would simply keep a former high pick for the sake of saving face, even if he doesn’t deserve a roster spot.

From the Steelers perspective, this is likely a low-risk, potentially high reward type of move.  Although it’s currently unclear what the team gave up for Gilbert it’s likely not more than a late round pick.  To get a potential first round talent at a position where the team hasn’t much depth makes a lot of sense.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.