After finishing with the list of draft busts last week, now it is time to look at the top ten draft successes of the Cleveland Browns since returning to the league in 1999. Depending on how you look at things, this list could be very underwhelming compared to most other teams.
Unlike the bust list where we only considered players taken within the first three rounds, anyone who ended up doing exceptionally well for the Browns can be listed as a success, whether they were taken in the first round or the seventh round. This does not necessarily mean the ten best players, as factors such as a low-round pick who wasn't expected to contribute but ended up doing so could end up ranking higher than a first-rounder who did a fine job but nothing spectacular.
Just cracking the top of my list at No. 10 is long snapper Ryan Pontbriand. Taken in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, this pick was heavily criticized at first. It seemed like another goofy decision by head coach Butch Davis -- why waste a pick on a long snapper? Thankfully, Pontbriand turned out to be a Pro Bowl long snapper and has been going strong for seven seasons. You might be able to make a case that Pontbriand should have been an undrafted free agent, but the fact is that it is not every year that your fifth-round draft pick makes a significant contribution to your team.
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