Most fans know that when a player goes to Cleveland, their careers are either great (Jim Brown & LeBron James) or like most, end just as they begin (Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Courtney Brown, Gerard Warren, Brandon Weeden). For newly drafted Brown, and former Oklahoma State Cowboy Justin Gilbert, that sort of reputation could scare a player into believing that he too will fall short of expectations. Here is why Gilbert won't face that.
The Browns defense may be one of the more underrated squads in the NFL. Especially after picking up former San Francisco safety Donte Whitner. So that now makes a secondary, that is made up of All-Pro corner Joe Haden, Whitner, and now the top defensive back taken in this year's draft with Gilbert. This will benefit Gilbert as he gets acclimated to the league in more ways than one.
Unlike most top-10 picks, Gilbert is not being thrown into a situation where he has to be "the man" from day one. With the two star DB's along side him, that pressure will not be as demanding, and he will be able to learn from guys that have had great success already in the league. This is as good of a situation that any of the top-10 picks are getting into. Most will look at Jadeveon Clowney joining J.J. Watt as a great situation in Houston, but this situation is equal to that.
Then there is the division that the Browns play in that will help Gilbert. The AFC North is a defensive division and one of the other things that sticks out about the division is that the QB's tend to make more mistakes than most. The three opposing quarterbacks (Roethlisberger, Flacco, Dalton) combined to throw 56 interceptions last season. That led the NFL in interceptions. That is a lot of opportunities for this stout Browns secondary to make plays on mistakes made.
With being the #2 corner for the Browns, Gilbert will also not have to be matched up against opposing teams best wide receivers typically. Within the division, this will mean that Gilbert will be across receivers like, Steve Smith of the Ravens, Marvin Jones of the Bengals, and Antonio Brown of the Steelers. Obviously Smith is All-Pro but he is also in the twilight years of his career. Gilbert is also coming into the league as the fastest corner in the draft, so for a corner covering Smith, Gilbert is probably the right man for the job.
The Browns will be happy with their first pick in the draft. Gilbert is put in a situation to succeed and is surrounded by players that will be able to distribute some of the responsibility out and not worry about those other players failing. This article could not be written about the Browns other first round pick, Johnny Manziel. The exact opposite situation is present on the other side of the ball for the Browns. There has been some word of drama between Manziel, who was regarded as potentially a top-10 pick and Gilbert who filled the spot that most thought Manziel would take (eighth overall pick). That drama shouldn't be much of an issue because Gilbert is a quiet and reserved type person. A polar opposite to the flamboyant Manziel. Gilbert has gotten "chippy" on the field, so maybe there would be a chance for the on the field skirmishes, but that is also doubtful. It really on how much Manziel puts into it, not Gilbert. So although the secondary situation is stellar in Cleveland, there still won't be any Lombardi Trophy's coming into town, any time soon.