A Look Back: 2000 NFL Draft

This isn't much prettier than the first go round.

2000

Courtney Brown or trade down!  We should have traded down.

Part one is here in case you missed it.

If you weren't around for the lead up to the 2000 NFL draft, here is a quick run down.  It was Courtney Brown.  At the end of the '99 season the above slogan was hung on a banner in the Dawg pound.  Courtney Brown had it all you look for in a defensive end.  He was the perfect prospect.  

6-4, 285lbs and he ran 4.52 at his pro day.  Think about that for a second.  Someone who is the size of roughly Eric Steinbach but is faster than Pat White.  And this wasn't just a projection on just size and speed.

Courtney Brown dominated the BigTen.  He set career records at PSU in tackles for loss (70) and sacks (33).  He set single season record of 29 TFL's.  He was defensive POY in '99 and was All BigTen for three seasons.  He also had a 3.45 GPA at PSU.

In other words, he had no holes in his game.  He played the run as well as he rushed the passer.  He was a slam dunk.  This was a pick that could have been made the second the Super Bowl was finished the prior season.  He was Ndamukong Suh 10 years ago.

And the Browns had him.  Everyone was ecstatic.  Peter King gave the Browns draft a B for Courtney Brown alone (P.S that article is hilarious for just for the fact that King gave the Raiders an A- for taking a kicker in the first round! A KICKER!  Then he craps all over the Bears for taking a workout myth in Brian Urlacher.  Gotta love Peter King).

By the way, just to make this even more painful, if the Browns would have taken the Saints trade offer the prior draft for Ricky Williams, the Browns would have been picking first and second.  But no, we had to have a face of the franchise!  God forbid our face of the franchise was a smart GM. 

Without any further ado, I give you the Cleveland Browns 2000 NFL draft.

1st Pick, 1st Round, 1st Overall: Courtney Brown, DE Penn State University

He was almost never healthy.  Played one full 16 game NFL season, his rookie year.  That rookie season he showed flashes of being worthy of the number one pick.  He had a 3 sack game against the hated Steelers and he was much better than anticipated against the run than we ever could have hoped for, bagging 70 tackles.

Before the 2001 NFL season, Brown had a bum ankle and missed the first 6 weeks of the NFL season.  After the bye week, Brown was back and he was awesome.  In the next 4 games, he was everywhere on the field.  He racked up 21 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and knocked down 4 passes.  He was becoming the monster that we had all envisioned on draft day.

The following week, Brown injured his knee.  He would miss the rest of the season.  He would never be the same.  His knee was a horrible injury that lead to further surgeries, some even the experimental kind  (I think he was one of the first players to ever undergo micro fracture surgery).  

He was never the same.  He never had the same explosion.  The explanation was always that "he just thought too much" out on the field.  I don't buy it.  I just think that the injuries were worse than he ever let on and the guy was just always hurt.  His body just couldn't handle it.  He played in 11, 13, 2, 13 games the rest of his career.  He never again showed the athletic gifts that he possessed.  Courtney Brown may be the greatest "what-if" player in Browns history behind only Ernie Davis.  Who knows what he could have been without the knee injury of 2001.

Career Stats

206 tackles, 19 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries, 1 defensive TD

Players we could have drafted: (Yes I know this is stupid and 100% subjective to many factors, but I always like looking back at who we "could have drafted" just for fun.) LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels went 2-3 in this draft, but like I said before, there was ZERO chance that the Browns were not taking Courtney Brown.

1st Pick, 2nd Round, 32nd Overall: Dennis Northcutt WR University of Arizona

Once again, the Browns decided that Tim Couch needed another WR instead of a blocker.  Don't get me wrong, Dennis Northcutt was a great college wideout.  His senior season he had 88 catches for 1,422 while adding in 19 yards per punt return.  19 yards per punt return is hard in NCAA'10 let alone in real life.  What Northcutt lacked in size (5-11 172lbs.) he made up in shiftyness and wiggle.  

Northcutt started 8 games for the Browns in '00 and finished second on the team in receptions and third in receiving yards.  He also was the Browns punt returner averaging 11 yards per return.

In his time with the Browns he never became more than a decent number three option and a great punt returner.  Of course if you ask any Cleveland Browns fan about Dennis Northcutt, you will probably hear about this (Don't click and read if you just ate, or don't feel like crying like a bitch for the next 30 minutes).

Career Stats (I will only list Browns stats since Northcutt is still in the NFL):

276 catches, 3438 yards, 12 TD's (11 receiving, 1 rushing), 10.6 YPPR, 3 punt return TD's

Players we could have drafted: Mike Brown, Ian Gold, Chad Clifton and Marvel Smith.  Some OT's would have been nice.  Hell I would have settled for Cosey Coleman.

1st Pick, 3rd Round, 63rd Overall: Travis Prentice, RB Miami University  

Travis Prentice, or Touchdown Travis as he was known back then, destroyed the MAC.  Here is a list of his records when he left Miami University:

  • Career Rushing TDs (73)
  • Career Total TDs (78)
  • Career Points (468)
  • Career Points (Non-Kickers) (468)
  • Games with TDs (35)
  • Game with Two or More TDs (25)
  • Consecutive Carries Without a Fumble Season (365)
  • Consecutive Carries Without a Fumble Career (862)

 

Not too shabby right?  Well he sucked as a pro.  Once again, I don't know how much I could blame Prentice at this point.  His offensive line was horrid, but 3.0 YPC out of a guy that started 11 games is inexcusable.  Prentice was cut after the '00 season and was cut by the Vikings a year later.  The Browns first third rounder of '00 was out of football in two seasons.  Yikes.

Career Stats;

525 Yards, 2.8 YPC, 9 TD's, 38 catches, 201 yards, 1 rec TD

Players we could have drafted: Laveranues Coles, Mark Simoneau and Hank Poteat (I know he sucks now).

16th Pick, 3rd Round, 79th Overall: JaJuan Dawson, WR Tulane

5108_medium

Don't lie, you have no idea what he looks like.  This could be someone else for all you know.

JaJuan Dawson put up some nice stats at Tulane catching passes from future pro (and first rounder) Patrick Ramsey.  He had 96 catches for 1051 yards and 8 TD's.  His Wes Welker like YPC could have been a huge red flag, but what the hell, this was the third round and the Browns needed WR's!

Well Dawson sucked and was cut from the Browns after two seasons and 31 catches later.  He caught on with the Texans for one season, but was out of the NFL after that.  For those keeping score at home, the Browns had two third rounders that played a combined 5 seasons in the NFL and only three of those were with the Browns.  (P.S. That is Dawson in the picture above.)

Career Stats:

52 catches, 664 yards, 2 TD's

Players we could have drafted:  Darrell Jackson, Reuben Droughns, Damion McIntosh, John St. Clair (I know he sucks now).

1st Pick, 4th Round, 95th Overall: Lewis Sanders, CB University of Maryland

Lewis Sanders had a good career at Maryland.  He was All ACC in '99, semi-finalist for the Thorpe award and the Sporting News third team All American.  He had 2 kick returns for TD's at Maryland and ranked seventh all-time at Maryland with 10 INT's.  Came out as a junior.

Why did he last all the way to the third round?  No one really knew if he was a small safety or a big cornerback.  He fell into the awkward middle I like to call the Mike Adams zone.  He stuck with the Browns for four seasons, playing in all 16 games two of those four, before he was let go and signed on with the Texans.  He has bounced from Houston to Atlanta to New England.  A roster filler.

Career Stats:

230 tackles, 1 sack, 2 FF, 5 INT

Players we could have drafted: Na'il Diggs, David Barrett, Terrelle Smith (It was an ugly round for the whole NFL.)

15th Pick, 4th Round, 110 Overall: Aaron Shea, TE University of Michigan

I always thought that Aaron Shea was a myth.  I always would hear about this talented TE on the Browns roster, yet it seems like I never saw him.  He was a TE/FB at Michigan where he used his decent blocking and decent hands to become a decent college H-Back.  He was never going to be a great blocker or game changing receiving TE.  

He started off with a good rookie season where he split time with Mark Campbell.  He caught 30 passes for 302 yards.  Sadly, both of those would be career highs.

Shea could never shake the injury bug.  For the rest of his career he appeared in 12, 7, 4, 15, and 12 games.  After the 2003 NFL season Shea sold his number 80 to Kellen Winslow Jr. for a package of suits, meals and vacations that totaled up to 30,000 dollars.

Shea has since retired and now works for the Cleveland Browns selling suites.

Career Stats:

97 catches, 851 yards, 7 TDs

Players we could have drafted: Cooper Carlisle, Isaiah Kacyvenski and Tyrone Carter

1st Pick, 5th Round, 130 Overall: Anthony Malbrough, CB Texas Tech University

Full disclosure.  I cannot remember Anthony Malbrough.  So I did some digging.  He played with the Browns for one season, in which he had 15 tackles in his rookie season.  After that he played some in NFL Europe and has since become a mainstay in the CFL.

He didn't do anything jaw dropping at Texas Tech his senior season, he wasn't even really considered a draft prospect.  Even CNNSi didn't have a work-up done on him for their coverage of the draft.  Yet the Browns thought he was worth a fifth rounder.

Career Stats:

15 tackles

Players we could have drafted: Shane Lechler (Don't laugh, we drafted a long snapper the previous season), Clark Haggans, and Ralph Brown

16th Pick, 5th Round, 146th Overall: Lamar Chapman, CB Kansas State University

Full disclosure.  I barely remember Lamar Chapman.  Through this old article, I found out that Chapman made the '98 All Big 12 team.  Anyways, Chapman's career with the Browns and the NFL was short lived at best.  he made it through two seasons with the Browns and was out of football after that.  Again, for those keeping score at home, the Browns two fifth rounders lasted a combined 3 seasons in the NFL.

Career Stats:

12 Tackles, 1 Fumble recovery, 1 INT

Players we could have drafted:  Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Dante Hall, and Sammy Morris

1st Pick, 6th Round, 167th Overall: **TRADED** for Karim Abdul-Jabbar

We traded a 6th round draft pick for six starts of Abdul-Jabbar.  SIX starts.  He was let go after the '99 season.  This is the exact reason this team has sucked.  Instead of building a roster through the draft we were hoping to strike lightning in a bottle with Jabbar.  Didn't happen.  What will piss you off even more is the player that was taken right behind this traded draft choice.  Unreal.

Players we could have drafted: Marc Bulger (the 168th pick, and before you say, wait a second Matt [my name], we just used the number one pick on a QB the previous season, there is no way the front office would be dumb enough to draft a QB the next season.  Just wait for it.), and Dhani Jones

Medium_swynnjg_medium

I guarantee that this pass was incomplete.

17th Pick, 6th Round, 183rd Overall: Spergon Wynn, QB South West Texas State

Just when you think that this front office was as dumb as they could possibly be, Spergon Wynn happens.  The kid throws for a 49.8 completion percentage at South West Texas State, and this front office thinks, "Awesome, instead of drafting a blocker for the face of the franchise, let's draft a back-up that can play when Tim Couch is killed from a look out block!"  When you can't complete 50% of your passes at a Southland Conference School, you have to be a NFL QB right?  Add in the fact that your TD-INT ratio was a healthy 14-13, why you have a recipe for success.  

As much as I want to defend some of the early picks the Browns made (Couch and Brown) there are moves that this front office made that just completely cut this franchise off at the knees.  This wasn't a case of a good player that just keeps dropping and the value of drafting him is just too high (think Drew Henson and the Houston Texans), this was a front office that either had no idea how to draft a NFL team or didn't care.  Either case isn't acceptable.

When you add in the fact that Wynn was let go after one season, it makes me want to kick my dog.  He was out of the NFL in two seasons.

Career Stats:

585 Yards, 46.1 Completion Percentage, 1 TD, 7 INT; But who saw that coming right?  It gets worse.

Players we could have drafted: Adalius Thomas, Robaire Smith, and Tom Brady (Yeah, that one.)

39th Pick, 6th Round, 206 Pick Overall: Brad Bedell, OG University of Colorado

Finally.  This is the first offensive lineman that the Browns took since the expansion draft. 21 picks.  We drafted a back-up QB before we drafted one offensive lineman.  This isn't hyperbole, but the Browns should be a studied as an example of how NOT to build a franchise.  We drafted 5 DB's and a long snapper before one offensive lineman.  This is how Jim Bundren starts for your football team.

Bedell was a flier at best.  He was described as a waist bender and lacked agility to be a good blocker.  Yes, everyone has holes in the 6th round, but at least we made a mistake on an offensive lineman.  

Bedell was gone from the Browns after two seasons and bounced around for most of his career playing with Browns, Dolphins, Packers and Texans.

Players we could have drafted:  Mark Tauscher, Alfonso Boone, and Rob Meier

1st Pick, 7th Round, 207th Pick Overall: Maniua Savea, OG University of Arizona

Back-to-Back!  Too bad Savea never made the team.  From what I can tell, he was cut before the start of the '00 season.

Awesome.

Players we could have drafted: Adewale Ogunleye, and Brian Waters

Undrafted Free Agents:

Shaun O'Hara, C Rutgers University:  I have to give the front office credit for signing O'Hara and turning him into a good player.  He left for the NYGiants and has become a Pro Bowler.

Draft recap:

This draft gave us zero starting offensive lineman.  I hate to sound like I am kicking a dead dog here, but this was/is a major reason why we have never been able to get traction as a franchise.  We have never been able to control the LOS.  It is the reason that Pittsburgh and Baltimore push us around every season.  It is a major reason why this seasons last four games made me so happy.  We were killing people at the LOS.

As for the '00 draft SIX of the above 10 draft picks were no longer on the Browns after two seasons.  60%.  I don't have to be Gil Brandt to realize that sucks.  Big time.  The Browns were handed extra draft picks by the NFL and they pissed them away.

The fact that Butch Davis had this franchise in the playoffs in the 2002 season is a freaking miracle.

I don't mean to sound angry, but I am.  I think we can all agree that the draft is a crap shoot.  Look at Courtney Brown, all the tools, all the character, but just plain bad luck.  But some of this teams bad luck was brought on by foolish moves and even worse drafting.  I think we can all agree, thank God for Mike Holmgren.

Spergon Wynn, if by some stroke of luck you are reading this, I don't hate you.  I just hate the fact that we drafted you.

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