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Winners and Losers of 2014 NFL Draft

Justin Gilbert, Cleveland
Winner: Cleveland Browns
What the Browns did on Thursday night was fantastic. Already armed with two first-round selections (received one from Indianapolis in Trent Richardson deal) they traded down to the No. 9 pick and received Buffalo's 2015 first-rounder. Unless Johnny Manziel can orchestrate an extremely quick turnover in Cleveland, that pick will certainly help speed up the rebuilding process. They acquired the 8 pick from Minnesota and used it on a guy they really liked in cornerback Justin Gilert. Joe Haden is fantastic at one cornerback slot but the other one was a major weakness, but Gilbert will fix that. Later they landed Johnny Manziel to help lead their offense and surrounded him with Nevada tackle Joel Bitonio and Towson back Terrance West. This young team may not be very competitive but they will certainly be fun to watch in 2014. 

Loser: Detroit Lions
After yet another inconsistent year from Matthew Stafford, the Lions made it clear their goal this offseason plans were to surround him with more targets. They signed Seattle playmaker Golden Tate and then resigned receiving tight end Brandon Pettigrew. It was clear they were  likely to select another impact receiver but Eric Ebron with their 10th pick? The UNC tight end certainly was a Top-15 caliber player but picking him up, months after investing a ton of money in Pettigrew was not smart at all. They then selected Kyle Van Noy in Round 2 and center Travis Swanson in the third round. Both address top needs but the rest of Detroit's selections were rather questionable and didn't really fit their needs.

Winner: Wide Receivers
Going into this draft, we knew one clear thing: Jadeveon Clowney was the sure-fire top pick for Houston and that the receiving class was one of the best in recent memory. The first receiver taken in this year's draft was Sammy Watkins off to Buffalo. The draft continued when Tampa selected Aggie star Mike Evans with the seventh selection and the Giants gave Eli Manning another option in the passing game when they picked up LSU product Odell Beckham. Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin (Carolina) and Brandin Cooks (New Orleans) also were selected in Round 1, making it five receivers within those first 32 picks. This class was very talented but also very deep; seven were selected in the second round and then eight would go combined in Rounds 3 and 4. The NFL has definitely turned into a pass-first league and teams are obviously making it a priority to surround their quarterbacks with worthy receiving options.

Loser: Running backs
Yes, the NFL has turned into a passing league and it is very evident on the draft board. This year's draft had the lowest selection for the first running back taken in NFL Draft history. Bishop Sankey, a talent from Washington, was selected with the 54th pick to the Tennessee Titans, who hope they can rejuvenate a rushing offense that has been below-average ever since Chris Johnson had his 2,000 yard season. Jeremy Hill followed to Cincinnati the pick behind Sankey, and Ohio State stud Carlos Hyde went 57th to the Niners. In all, the 2014 class will most certainly not be remembered for it's running backs and even the players selected in the second round shouldn't make huge impacts right away like in previous seasons.

Winner: Houston Texans
Well this is pretty obvious why the Texans are huge winners. They contemplated dealing away the No. 1 pick but instead decided to use it on Jadeveon Clowney, one of the best defensive prospects in the history of the NFL. Clowney will line up on the opposite side of J.J Watt, already one of the best pass rushers in the league, to give Houston one dominant pass rush and defense as a whole. Along with Clowney, Houston also managed to reel in Louis Nix to fill a need at defensive tackle and they got a steal with the first pick on the second round in UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo. They didn't get their franchise quarterback this draft, unless they think Tom Savage (Round 4 pick) is that guy. But, rumors are swirling they might land Ryan Mallett, and whoever takes over the QB job will have enough to work with.

Loser: Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns have been struggled on the field the past couple seasons and they have now started struggling on the boards. No Texas player was drafted this year, the first time that has happened since 1937. A crazy stat: Lindenwood University, a small University previously on the NAIA rank, had more players drafted in the 2014 Draft, then the famous Longhorns. Charlie Strong clearly has his work cut out for him, trying to build Texas into the powerhouse program they once were under Mack Brown. He certainly built Louisville into quite the program; they had three players selected in the first round including safety Calvin Pryor, defensive linemen Marcus Smith and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

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