Cleveland Browns Draft Success #5: Anthony Henry

DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 04: NFL player Anthony Henry (L) and NFL player Leigh Bodden of the New England Patriots attend GQ Cadillac Lacoste and Patron Tequila Celebrating the Coolest Athletes and the Big Game hosted by Andy Roddick at Hickory Street Annex on February 4 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for GQ)

Anthony Henry was a fourth-round pick in the 2001 NFL Draft and had a terrific rookie season. Playing mostly at the nickel back position, he recorded 10 interceptions as a rookie to go along with 54 tackles, with one of his interceptions being returned for a touchdown. Most of his interceptions came in chunks that season; he had three in Week 2 against the Lions, three in Week 10 against the Ravens, and two in Week 14 against the Jaguars. He was a contender for the defensive rookie of the year and his production was something teams would kill for from a fourth-rounder.

Henry became a starter part-way through the next season, the year the Browns went to the postseason. He was with Cleveland for two more seasons after that but was never able to match the type of season he had in his rookie year. Henry might be looked at as a disappointment since he never reached Pro Bowl status, but looking back, I think he was an adequate starter at the cornerback position and certainly a success story for being a fourth-round pick.

After four years in Cleveland, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. I would go as far as to say that since 1999, he has probably been the most coveted free agent to have left Cleveland. You might be able to liken this pick to Brandon McDonald (i.e. you could call McDonald, "Henry 2.0"). Both players excelled as a nickel back but started to be exposed when they were lined up against the opposing teams' top receivers. Still, where I thought players like McDonald and Eric Wright had moments of complete collapse, I never felt Henry got to be that bad.

Give me another solid season from Ahtyba Rubin in the 4-3 defense and he will easily pass Henry on this list. Until then, Henry maintains a slight lead over the defensive tackle. Remember, the factors that led to Henry being ranked this high included...

  • A tremendous rookie season.
  • Being a fourth-round draft pick.
  • Being one of the team's more highly-coveted free agents.
  • Not completely tanking at the cornerback position.

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