The PD published the list of the 18 Browns first round draft picks since 1990. To get our minds off the possbile lockout, and kill some time before the 2011 draft - here is my personal ranking of the draft picks to debate. Part 2 later today.
18. Craig Powell, LB Ohio State University, 30th Pick in 1995 Draft
Craig Powell was a fish out of water from his very first day in the NFL. He was not fast enough to play safety, and not strong enough or physical enough to play LB. He could not play special teams. Here is all you need to know about Craig Powell - he never started a game in the NFL. Never caused or recovered a fumble. Never deflected or defended a pass. And the big philosophical quesition - if no one has seen Craig Powell make a play - did he really play in the NFL?
17. Tommie Vardell, RB Stanford, 9th Pick in 1992 Draft
The selection of "Touchdown Tommy" was immediately doubted. First, why you would draft a FB this high was odd. But what made this pick terrible was the astounding fact that "Tocuhdown Tommy" was impotent as a short yardage back in the NFL, as he rushed for exactly 3 TDs in his 4 year Browns career.
16. William Green, RB Boston College, 16th pick 2002 draft
Was William Green the 3rd worst player drafted by the Browns since 1990? Heck no. But I rate him the 3rd worst draft pick because he had more red flags than a May Day parade in Beijing. A noted druggie that was booted off the BC squad - who was later stabbed by his girlfriend (Only in Cleveland). Nice job in the interview Butch. His numbers were bad as well. Seemingly not an instinctual RB - he never averaged over 4 yards a carry. Total 4 year career read 568 carries for 2,100 yards, and 9 rushing TDs - but he will always be remembered for the 64 yard TD of "Run William Run" that led the Browns to their only playoff appearance since the return.
15. Brady Quinn, QB Notre Dame, 22nd pick, 2007 draft
Another example where the pick is worse than the player. The Browns had a roster without talent. So what does Phil Savage do? Trade the second pick in the draft and next year's number 1. This pick showed the key flaw in Savage. Too emotional, too in love with a pick, too immature, and the trade rolled downhill for 2 years to destroy the Browns. No number 1 or number 2 the next year - Savage went on a trading up nightmare that sacrificed key picks to get LB Beau Bell and TE Martin Rucker of Mizzou. In many ways the trades of BQ, Corey Williams, and to a lesser extent Big Baby put the Browns on track for the last 2 years. For the record, BQs numbers was a 66.8 QB rating and 10 TDs with 9 picks. The telling statistics though were the career 5.4 avg per attempt with a 52% completion percentage. A QB who checked down too often and was not accurate enough. The fact he launched the BQ DA debate takes away even more fromt he pick.
Special thanks to H&H and Mangini for salvaging this pick with the addition of Peyton Hillis in the 2010 trade.
14. Gerard Warren - DT Florida, 3rd pick, 2001 draft
Gerard Warren was a continual disappointment. Named "Big Money" - but that described his paycheck and nothing to do with his play. Making it excepionally painful was that the RB starved Browns passed up on LT to get Big Money. In addition, Richard Seymour was selected a few picks later and Bellicek said that Seymour was clearly the number 1 DL and he could not believe another DT was selected ahead of him. Also marring his Browns history was an arrest after partying with Pittsburgh players. During the booking process - it was revealed the poor guy had to use an X for his signature.
13. Courtney Brown - DE Penn St., 1st pick, 2000 draft
To be fair to CB, his carreer was ravaged with injuries and he really could not get healthy enough to see if he was a player. In one game against Pittsburgh, he was a force. 3 Sacks, forced fumble and a rare Browns win. That was about it. Nicknamed the "Quiet Storm" I personally feel that even if healthy CB could not have lived up to the first pick billing. He just seemed like a "Really Quiet Storm" that was just a little too stiff to ever be a feared pass rusher. As a comparison, Kam Wimberly had as many sacks in his rookie year as CB in his first 3 years. The total for Courteny was 17 sacks in his 5 year Browns career.
12. Tim Couch, QB Kentucky, 1st pick 1999 draft
There will be an eternal debate if TC would have been good without injury. One thing for sure, he was somewhat mishandled. Expected to learn from Ty Detmer, Detmer was benched and Couch started the second game of the Browns return season. And he took a beating due to a patchwork OL. When healthy, he demonstrated a nice touch, and some very accurate deep balls. My take, he would have been at least an average starting QB if handled right. The 50+ sacks in 2 of his first 3 years took their toll as Tim played nervous, and picked up the nasty habit of tapping the ball. The amazing thing about Tim is how the pedestrian 75 QB rating could generate such a stormy career.
11. Antonio Langham, CB Alabama, 9th pick 1994 draft
Antonio got off to a nice start to his NFL career, as he immediately became a solid starting CB for the Browns. His best season was his first in Baltimore, as he intercepted 5 passes for the Ravens. In the final analysis, Antonio will be remembered for an NFL career that started promising - but leveled off quickly - then declined rapidly. It looked as if his CB speed was just good enough, and as he lost a step - it killed his career quickly.
10. Kellen Winslow, TE Miami, 6th pick 2004 draft
Another pick that I knocked down because of circumstantial issues. From a capped NFL perspective - a TE drafted overall at #6 would almost have to be a HOFer to justify the money. Second, in a typical Butch Davis move, he engineered an extremely strange trade up deal. He gave up a second overall pick, ouch and the Lions did not even have an offense that featured a TE. Adding insult to injury, it was the ballyhooed QB draft of Manning, Rivers, and Rothlisberger and we gave the Steelers their QBOTF. To be fair, when healthy he was tough, competitive, and had glue on his hands. In 2007, he made the tough catches. While an uninjured KWII would have probably been a perennial Pro Bowl TE - his "10 cent head" was a key contributor to his injury history. By the numbers had 80 catches twice in his 5 year Browns career. He never developed into the "dangerous" TE in the mold of Gates, Gonzalez as he only had 11 TDs in his career - a number no doubt impacted by his Evel Knevel antics.