Sometimes fans need a little reminder that things can go right. Here’s a list of ten first-round draft picks that the Cleveland Browns nailed.
10) Alex Mack, Center – Round One, Pick 21, 2009
The three-time Pro-Bowler played in every game during his six years in Cleveland.
9) Myles Garrett, Defensive End – Round One, Pick 1, 2017
Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, Myles Garrett was seen by many Cleveland fans as a spark to help ignite the defense. The 6’4” 272 defensive end from Texas A&M, displayed exceptional skills.
Garrett recorded a sack on his first professional play in 2017 and earned a selection to the Pro-Bowl in 2018.
8) Joe Thomas, Offensive Tackle – Round One, Pick 3, 2007
Drafted third overall in 2007, Joe Thomas could make a statement without saying a word. The University of Wisconsin’s 6’6” 312 lb. offensive tackle was an inspirational mainstay for the Browns and their fans.
Thomas had ten Pro-Bowl selections and played 10,363 consecutive snaps in Cleveland. Thomas’ record-setting streak ended on October 22, 2017, when he suffered a torn triceps muscle. In March of 2018, Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL.
7) Hanford Dixon, Cornerback – Round One, Pick 22, 1981
Hanford Dixon, the 5’11 186 lb corner from Southern Mississippi, played for the Browns his entire career (1981-1989) Dixon had three Pro Bowl selections as well as three seasons with four or more interceptions.
6) Clay Matthews Jr., Linebacker – Round One, Pick 12, 1978
Joining the Browns from USC, 6’2” 245 lb, linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. was the team’s second pick during round one of the draft in 1978. Matthews joins Ozzie Newsome as one of the five players whose time in Cleveland reached into three different decades.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Matthews was a driving defensive force during the Kardiac Kid years and beyond. Many defensive statistics logged today were not tallied throughout Matthews’ NFL career. In 1984, Matthews’ collected a dozen sacks.
5 Eric Turner, Safety – Round One, Pick 2, 1991
Eric Turner, the 6’1, 208 lb. safety, came to Cleveland from UCLA. The former Bruin spent 1991-1995 with the Browns where he was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1994.
Turner led the NFL in interceptions in 1994, nabbing nine int’s for 199 yards including a pick-six.
4) Mike Pruitt, Fullback – Round One, Pick 7, 1976
Mike Pruitt, the 6’0” 222 lb. Fullback from Perdue, played on Cleveland’s storied Kardiac Kids teams, along with Ozzie Newsome. Additionally, he was a two-time Pro Bowler.
During Pruitt’s years in Cleveland (1976-1984) he cemented his legacy by joining legends, Jim Brown and LeRoy Kelly atop the list of all-time franchise rushing leaders. Pruitt ranks third on the list with 6,540 total yards.
3) Ozzie Newsome, Tight End – Round One, 23rd Pick, 1978
After his successful years at the University of Alabama, Ozzie Newsome, nicknamed ‘the Wizard of Oz’ for his incredible catching abilities became an integral member of Cleveland’s Kardiac Kids. At 6’2, 232 lbs, Newsome’s size lent itself to his playmaking ability,
Newsome spent his entire Hall of Fame career (1978-1990) in Cleveland and is one of five players in team history who were a part of the team in three different decades. A three-time Pro Bowler, Newsome’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Newsome is the fourth leading tight end receiver. By his retirement, he amassed 662 catches for 7,980 yards and 47 touchdowns.
2) Paul Warfield, Wide Receiver – Round One, 11th Pick, 1964
Warren, Ohio native and alumni of The Ohio State University, Paul Warfield easily stepped into the role of local hero when the Browns drafted him 11th overall in 1964. The 6’0, 188 lb. halfback turned wide receiver played for the Browns from 1964-1969.
In what has been called the worst trade in Cleveland Browns’ history, Warfield went to the Miami Dolphins in 1970. In Miami, Warfield solidified his Hall of Fame future with several Super Bowl appearances. After a short stint in the World Football League, Warfield finished his career in Cleveland from 1976-1977.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, Warfield was a three-time Pro-Bowler for the Browns. (He made a total of eight career Pro Bowl appearances.) Warfield led the league in touchdowns in 1968 with a total of 12 along with 1,067 receiving yards on 50 receptions.
1 Jim Brown, Running Back – Round One, 6th Pick, 1957
Jim Brown is arguably the greatest running back ever to play the game. The Cleveland Browns drafted him with the sixth pick in 1957. The 6’2 230-pound running back from Syracuse had quite the collegiate career finishing fifth in the Heisman voting his senior year.
When the Browns took him, Brown immediately broke out as the new face of the Cleveland offense, in his ninth game he set the record for most rushing yards in a single game with 237 yards a record that would stand for 14 years. In 1958 Brown broke the single-season rushing record with 1,527 yards and led all players in scoring with 17 touchdowns.
Jim Brown’s accolades include Pro-Bowl selection every season, NFL Rookie of the Year, a three-time AP NFL MVP, league-leading rusher in eight out of his nine seasons, led the league in touchdowns five times during his career and was a part of the 1964 championship team.
Brown’s career totals for the Browns include 12,312 rushing yards (He was the first player in NFL history to rush over 10,000 yards), 106 rushing touchdowns (It only took him 93 games to reach 100 touchdowns in an era when seasons were only 12 and then later 14 games long). Jim Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. One could go on about the greatness of Jim Brown forever it seems, but I think it’s safe to say when it comes to the Cleveland Brown’s first-round draft picks Jim Brown stands alone as #1