Continuing on - we head to the better news and here are the best half of the 18 picks.
9. Braylon Edwards, WR University of Michigan, 3rd Pick 2005
In alot of ways the consecutive drafts of BE and KWII showed the same flaw in the Browns evaluations, the inability to identify obvious character flaws. The one thing you can say about Mangini - he would not have drafted these 2 that early. I rated BE slightly higher than KWII because it was a weak draft overall, we did not sacrifice picks to get him, and ultimately he was the more explosive player for the Browns. In 2007, BE had a tremendous season with 16 TDs (more than KWII career) and 1,300 yards. He had at least a 70 +yard TD in each of his Brown's seasons. If BE can mature, it is not too late to have a lenghty and solid NFL career.
8. Jeff Faine, C University of Notre Dame, 22nd pick 2003
Getting a 9 year starting center with the 22nd pick overall is not a bad pick. Faine has even had a couple of Pro Bowl seasons to boot. Jeff's problem is he entered the league at under 300 lbs and just could not add the weight needed to battle Casey Hampton. In a typical Savage move, Faine was traded for squat after the signing of LeChuck. Obviously the best move was to keep Faine for depth at guard/center. The "reward" Savage got for Faine? A trade up in the 2nd round of a few places to draft an undersized LB named Dqwell Jackson - who almost assuredly would have dropped to the Browns anyway.
7. Alex Mack, C University of California, 21st pick 2009
Alex is off to a solid start to his NFL career. Winner of the academic Heisman, he shows great character and competitiveness. He is a top 7-8 center in the NFL. The only stains on this selection was the cheap give away of a franchise (?) QB and maddening succession of trade downs that passed up badly needed defensive playmakers for Mack. Passing up Clay Matthews 4 times, along with Orakpo, and Cushing. Thankfully that pain is eased by the fact that Mack is a 10 year NFL keeper.
6. Kam Wimbley, LB Florida State, 13th pick, 2006
To me, Kam is one of the most underappreciated and underrated draft picks on the Browns. Prolly his biggest sin was having a tremendous rookie year where he set a career record of 11 sacks. In his next 3 seasons with the Browns, he registered 15.5 sacks his next 3 seasons. But I sincerely thought he offset some of that production by being more active in other aspects of the game. For most, he will be remembered as a "1 trick pony" that never duplicated his rookie season in sacks. To me he was a guy who never missed a start, always showed consistent hustle, and was a true character guy, one of my faves since the return.
Kam was inexplicably traded in 2010 and regained some of his sacking prowess with 9 sacks. Softening the trade of a 1st rounder for a 3rd rounder was the fact the Browns chose Colt McCoy with the pick and have declared him the starting QB in 2011.
5. Steve Everitt, C University of Michigan, 14th pick 1993
Of all the players who were knocked down for non performance reasons, here is a guy that goes to number 5 for being the quintessentail Brown. Was he the 5th best player - no. But for the younger folks - keep on reading to get what it means to be a true Brown. (much from Baltimore Sun).
Everitt was the very definition of a free spirit. He wore mega death T shirts, was an artist, and he loved Cleveland. When the Browns moved to Baltimore he had a dagger tattooed down his spine to symbolize the knife in the back that Everitt felt Cleveland got from team owner Art Modell. Moreover, at halftime of the Ravens' inaugural game, against the Oakland Raiders, Everitt wrapped his head in a Browns bandanna for all to see when he removed his helmet on the sideline.
For that caper, the NFL fined him $5,000. "I had nothing against Baltimore or its fans," said Everitt, recalling the episode. "But I'd left so many friends in Cleveland that I felt [the bandanna] was the best way to thank them and to get in a dig at the owners. "The Modells can burn in hell for all I care." And I personally hope you go straight to heaven Steve Everitt
4. Joe Haden, CB University of Florida, 7th pick 2010
It is prolly a tad early to call Joe Haden the 4th best pick since 1990 - but the start of his NFL career was sensational. Great ball skills with solid coverage skills, he averaged almost 1 interception per start. Who knows if he would have started from the beginning. Perhaps he could have been ROY with about 10+ interceptions. Anyway, a hat tip to Tom Heckert for the pick, and hope he has a solid 10 year career for the Browns.
3. Derrick Alexander, WR University of Michigan, 29th pick 2004 draft
Unfortunately, Derrick Alexander career was accomplished outside of Cleveland. But as the last player picked in the 2004 draft, he had 5 seasons where his per game average exceeded 1,000 yards. He became a solid receiver with the Ravens, but went to KC where he became a Pro Bowl type receiver. In 2000, he had 1,400 yards and 10 TDs and averaged almost 17 yards a catch in his 9 year career. Not bad for a 29th selection overall.
2. Eric Turner, S UCLA, 2nd pick 1991 draft
E-Rock will eternally be paired with Don Rogers in Browns history. They both came from UCLA after all-American careers They both were first round selections by the Browns. They both created fear in any WR that dared to run a crossing pattern against the Browns. They both had a short and spectacular NFL careers that was tragically cut short by their deaths. Rogers dying of a cocaine induced heart attack on the day before his wedding and E-Rock from intestinal cancer at the age of 31.
E-Rock was an All Pro safety twice in his career. But the thing to remember about this warrior - was the mean streak that gave all WRs a severe case of "alligator arms" against the Browns. RIP Eric Turner.
1. Joe Thomas, OT University of Wisconsin, 3rd pick 2007 draft
4 years, no missed starts, 4 Pro Bowls yawn - that is Joe Thomas. He is the franchise left tackle that you dream about. As an added bonus you get a class blue collar guy that bust his butt at all times. Of all the damage Savage did to the Browns - here is the only parting gift you get - enjoy the HOF career.
There you have it - thoughts or special memories of these players?