Cleveland Browns: Biggest Draft Day Regret In Franchise History
Johnny Manziel was linked to the Cleveland Browns long before he was the 22nd pick in the NFL Draft. The conversation and rumors began to heat up when the Browns traded Trent Richardson for the Indianapolis Colts’ first round pick in last year’s first round. Since then, the Johnny Football craze has been a part of the Cleveland culture, which got a boost from its new coach Mike Pettine, but little from the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Add his name to the long list of poor draft decisions by a franchise that seems to enjoy being perennial losers in the NFL.
Manziel’s off-field antics and controversies have yielded little in return, which makes him – at least for now – one of the most disappointing draft picks in browns history, but also in NFL lore.
According to Bob Frantz of morningjournal.com, the list is long in terms of who the Browns have made their top pick in the NFL Draft, only to see them fail.
10. Antonio Langham, CB, 1994, No. 9 overall -- When you're the ninth overall pick in the draft as a cornerback, you better be a shut-down, game-changing pain-in-the-rear for offensive coordinators. Langham wasn't. He played seven seasons for four teams, including two tours with the Browns, pre-and-post move, totaling 14 interceptions in 102 career games without making a Pro Bowl.
9. Kellen Winslow II, TE, 2004, No. 6 overall -- Solid career numbers, with 438 receptions for nearly 5,000 yards with three teams to date. When you are projected, however, to be a game-breaking tight end in the mold of your Hall of Fame father, and you total just 23 touchdown catches in nine seasons, after starting your career by destroying your knee in a juvenile motorcycle accident, you haven't done much to enhance your legacy.
8. Kamerion Wimbly, LB, 2006, No. 13 overall -- Wimbley was expected to be a pass rushing force at linebacker for the Browns, despite being a defensive end in college. He totaled 11 sacks in his rookie season, but he was never able to duplicate that production, and is now with his third NFL team. Worse: The Browns swapped picks with the Ravens, allowing Baltimore to select perennial All-Pro nose-tackle Haloti Ngata at No. 12.
7. Tim Couch, QB, 1999, No. 1 overall -- The poster-child of bad draft picks for the Browns actually wasn't as bad as he's remembered. He had a career QB-rating of 75.1 in parts of five seasons, playing on a team with a roster less talented than St. Ignatius'. Couch re-wrote SEC record books at Kentucky, but was never put in a position to succeed in Cleveland with an expansion franchise. Injuries cut short his opportunities to catch on elsewhere.
6. Gerard Warren, DT, 2001, No. 3 overall -- "Big Money" was Big and Sloppy in his short, unproductive tenure with the Browns, with a reputation for being lazy. He played four seasons for the Browns, totaling 16.5 sacks before being traded to the Broncos for a fourth round pick in 2005. He has played with four NFL teams, the last being New England in 2011.
5. Courtney Brown, DE, 2000, No. 1 overall -- Brown was the "Quiet Storm" at Penn State, being soft-spoken off the field while totaling an NCAA record-breaking 33 sacks and 70 tackles for losses on it. Unfortunately, he was just quiet for the Browns, as injuries and inconsistency plagued his short career. The top pick in a draft that saw the likes of Jamal Lewis, Brian Urlacher, and Shaun Ellis taken after him, Brown was a colossal disappointment.
4. William Green, RB, 2002, No. 16 overall -- Green ran for just under 900 yards and six TD's as a rookie, but that would be the highlight of his career. He was arrested for drunk driving and drug possession in 2003, stabbed in the back by his wife in a domestic altercation, and suspended by the league for substance abuse violations before the Browns dumped him in 2006. He finished with 2,109 yards and nine TD's in 46 career games.
3. Tommy Vardell, RB, 1992, No. 9 overall -- A guy nicknamed "Touchdown Tommy" needs to total more than just 22 of them in eight NFL seasons with three teams. Blocking fullbacks simply do not get drafted with the ninth overall pick in a draft.
2. Craig Powell, LB, 1995, No. 30 overall -- Powell was one of Mike Lombardi's gems during Lombardi's first term with the Browns. After four unproductive seasons in the NFL, he would come to be known as the centerpiece of one of the worst draft classes in Browns' history.
1. Brady Quinn, QB, 2007, No. 22 overall -- While Couch will forever be remembered as the worst pick in Browns' history, primarily due to being selected first overall, Quinn was a far bigger bust. The Golden Boy from Notre Dame was once projected as a top 10 pick, but slid all the way down to No. 22, where the Browns took him after trading a first and a second-round pick to the Cowboys to get him. After forgettable battles with Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson to win the starting job in Cleveland, Quinn was dumped on the Broncos in 2010, and is now fighting for a clipboard job with his fourth team in eight years.
I tend to put Manziel over all of them because of the hype, the media coverage, the self-promotion and most of all, the kid just did not seem to care, as if he needed to grow up and become an adult before he could take the field.
And when he was on the field, he was awful. Given the fact both Teddy Bridgewater and Derrick Carr were the next two quarterbacks taken last season and they both excelled proved once again Cleveland took a big swing and missed. And the Johnny Football mystic is over, well before it truly got off the ground.