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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Cleveland Browns Top-5 First-Round Draft Flops

The Cleveland Browns Top-5 First-Round Draft Flops

The busts
Publish Date: 04/01/2020
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
original artwork

As the quarantined world in which we live is increasingly void of sports news, I am happy that the month of March is in the rearview mirror. April means the draft. I love the NFL Draft. Perhaps because recently, it was the best time to be a Cleveland Browns fan. The slate was clean, picks all looked promising, and a shining ray of hope glistened on the horizon. So hey! You could always bet on the draft, and if you want I found a great online casino the Lucky Nugget online.

With 40 years of Brown’s fan experience, I’m not naive. I understand the propensity of the Browns organization to screw up the draft royally. I actually lost my voice screaming ‘no’ in 2011 when Julio Jones slipped right through Cleveland Browns’ President Mike Holmgren’s grubby fingers. But no hard feelings, Mike. If I remember correctly, you nabbed Phil Taylor as the 2011 first-round pick. Taylor deserves at least an honorable mention in this piece.

While this year’s NFL Draft will be a scaled-down version of the spectacle planned for Las Vegas, the NFL gods tell us the draft will go on.

Looking back on years of first-round picks, I notice several picks that stand out as poor choices. Here’s a list of five I believe are just plain bad.

5) Corey Coleman, WR, Round 1, Pick 15, 2016

It is only fair to say Corey Coleman looked good in his first several games. When called on to replace Josh Gordon, Coleman held his own. He looked good in the week two game against the Baltimore Ravens. Coleman had five receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

It is worth mentioning that Coleman spent a significant amount of time in 2016 and 2017 on the sidelines because of a broken hand. Cleveland traded Coleman in 2018 to the Buffalo Bills for a 2020 seventh-round draft pick. Corey Coleman will be remembered as the player who dropped the game-winning pass in the final game of the abysmal 2017 season.

4) Trent Richardson, RB Round 1, Pick 3, 2012

Trent Richardson had plenty of hype surrounding him going into the 2012 NFL draft. As a product of Alabama, he seemed like a great addition to any team.

When the Browns drafted him as the third pick in round one of 2012, he became the highest selected back in the NFL Draft since Reggie Bush in 2006. Richardson’s rookie season was strong; he rushed for 950 yards on 267 attempts for 11 touchdowns. Richardson’s time in Cleveland was short-lived, he got traded to the Colts the following season for a first-round draft pick in the 2014 draft. Fans and some players questioned the trade, but the front office said he didn’t fit into the scheme of the Browns.

3) Cam Erving, C, Round 1, Pick 19, 2015

When the Browns drafted Cam Erving with the 19th pick in 2015, Cleveland’s hopes were elevated. After all, Erving accumulated a fair number of honors in his time at Florida State. Additionally, he was a part of the FSU team that won a BCS Championship. However, in 2016 starting center, Alex Mack went to Atlanta during free agency. This pushed Erving into a role he was not ready to perform. He proved ineffective and unprepared for his role. In 2017 the Browns traded Erving to Kansas City for a fifth-round pick.

2) Justin Gilbert, CB, Round 1, Pick 8, 2014

The evidence that the Justin Gilbert pick was a real mistake lies in the fact that many of those drafted right after Gilbert went on to become Pro Bowl players. This talented group includes some familiar names including Anthony Barr (9th Overall Pick and four-time Pro Bowler) Odell Beckham Jr (12th Overall Pick and three-time Pro Bowler) Ryan Shazier (15th Overall Pick and two-time Pro Bowler)Let’s not forget to mention six-time Pro Bowler and two-time Defensive Player of the Year 13th pick Aaron Donald.

Gilbert was supposed to be a dominant force in the Brown’s backfield alongside Joe Haden. He was not able to duplicate his success at Oklahoma State, and Cleveland Traded him to Pittsburgh for a sixth-round pick.

1) Johnny Manziel, QB, Round 1, Pick 22, 2014

I cannot imagine a future where the Brown’s find a worse first-round pick than Johnny Manziel. Loads of empty talk followed Manziel to Cleveland. He said he wanted to “Wreck the league” sadly, Manziel just wrecked himself with his infamous antics and the Browns were collateral damage.

The Manziel quarterback controversy caused mayhem in 2014. Manziel proved erratic and undependable in 2015. Not only did Manziel not live up to the franchise-savior hype that surrounded him, he demolished his own career. The former Heisman Trophy winner was released by the Brown in March 2016.

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