Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry is going to be a lonely man when the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off later this month in Kansas City.
Like a draft prospect sitting in the green room waiting for his name to be called, Berry will have plenty of time to re-adjust the team’s draft board as the Browns are not currently scheduled to make a pick until the third round with the No. 74 overall selection.
But just because it may take a while for the Browns to be on the clock, that does not mean they can’t find some talent in the third round, as Berry showed last year with the selection of cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. with pick No. 68 overall.
Going back through the franchise’s draft history, here is a look at 10 times the Browns got it right in the third round of the draft.
Defensive back Ross Fichtner (1960): A quarterback in college at Purdue, Ross Fichtner moved to safety after being selected by the Browns. It took him a while to adjust to the defensive side of the ball, but once he did Fichtner became a nuisance to opposing quarterbacks.
Fichtner had seven interceptions in 1963 and topped that three years later when he had a career-high eight. He played eight seasons for the Browns and finished with 27 interceptions, which is currently eighth-best in franchise history. He also returned three interception returns for touchdowns, which is tied for third-best on the team’s all-time list.
Placekicker Don Cockroft (1967): The Browns were proactive in the 1967 draft, selecting placekicker Don Cockroft even though Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza was going to play one more season.
It turned out to be a smart move as Cockroft went on to kick for 13 seasons while also serving as Cleveland’s punter for nine years.
Cockroft kicked for the Browns in playoff games in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, led the league in extra points in 1969, and was tops in field goal percentage three times (1968, 1972 and 1974). He is third on the franchise’s all-time list for career field goals attempted and field goals made, trailing just Groza and Phil Dawson; first in career punting yards; and third in career points scored.
Wide receiver Dave Logan (1976): A two-sport star at the University of Colorado, Dave Logan spent eight seasons with the Browns. It took him two years to become a full-time starter, but once he did he became an important member of the Kardiac Kids offense as he started all 16 games from 1978 to 1980, and just missed a 1,000-yard receiving season in 1979.
Logan is ninth on the franchise’s all-time list in receiving yards with 4,247, 17th in career receptions with 262, and 11th in touchdown receptions with 24, while also averaging a tidy 16.2 yards per reception.
Defensive end Reggie Camp (1983): Reggie Camp made 69 starts during his five seasons with the Browns and was a member of division winners in 1985, 1986 and 1987 (although he only played in six games that final season due to a knee injury).
Camp had seven or more sacks in three of his years with the Browns, highlighted by his 14 sacks in 1984, which stood as the franchise’s “official” record until defensive end Myles Garrett broke it in 2021.
Placekicker Jeff Jaeger (1987): Jeff Jaeger had what in some ways is a normal start to life as a kicker in the NFL. After struggling during a rookie season that saw him convert just 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts, Jaeger missed the 1988 season with a foot injury and the Browns moved on.
Jaeger landed with the Raiders in 1989, was a first-team All-Pro selection in 1991, and led the NFL in scoring and made field goals in 1993. All told, Jaeger was with the Raiders for seven seasons before finishing up his career by playing four years with the Chicago Bears.
Defensive end Anthony Pleasant (1990): Anthony Pleasant spent 14 years in the NFL, with his first six seasons coming with the Browns, where he totaled 33.5 sacks (with a career-best 11 in 1993) and nine forced fumbles (including an NFL-best six in 1995).
After the Browns moved to Baltimore following the 1995 season, Pleasant bounced around from the Ravens to the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers, before signing with the New England Patriots in 2001. He spent the final three seasons of his career with the Patriots, picking up a Super Bowl ring in 2001 and 2003 (although he was inactive for the postseason that year).
Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon (1999): Daylon McCutcheon was a member of the Browns first draft class upon returning to the NFL in 1999, which in hindsight was not necessarily poor in the opening stages with quarterback Tim Couch (No. 1 overall) and wide receiver Kevin Johnson (second round) joining McCutcheon. (We’ll just forget about linebacker Rahim Abdullah, the club’s second pick in the second round.)
McCutcheon spent his entire seven-year NFL career with the Browns, making 96 starts, making 431 tackles, intercepting 12 passes and bringing two of those interceptions back for a touchdown.
Linebacker Christian Kirksey (2014): Christian Kirksey spent six seasons with the Browns and posted 148 tackles in 2016 and 138 the following season. Unfortunately, his last two years with the team were marred by injuries that limited him to just nine total games and the Browns released him after the 2019 season.
Overall with the Browns, Kirksey played in 73 games after becoming a full-time starter in 2016. He served as a team captain from 2017 through 2019 and finished his Cleveland tenure with 484 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
After spending one season with the Green Bay Packers, Kirksey signed with the Houston Texans and started all 17 games in 2022, finishing with 124 tackles and three sacks.
Running back Duke Johnson (2015): Duke Johnson was a solid dual threat out of the backfield during his four seasons with the Browns. He had more than 870 combined rushing and receiving yards in his first three seasons. His marquee season came in 2017 when he had ,1,041 combined yards and seven combined touchdowns, while also setting a team record for receptions by a running back with 74.
That led Johnson to grumble about his contract and his numbers fell off in 2018 to just 630 combined yards from scrimmage. The Browns traded Johnson to the Houston Texans the following offseason.
Since leaving Cleveland, Johnson’s production has continued to decline as a player who never missed a game with the Browns has only played 17 total games over the past three seasons while moving from the Texans to the Miami Dolphins (2021) and Buffalo Bills (2022).
Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (2017): Larry Ogunjobi spent four seasons with the Browns after becoming the first football player in UNC-Charlotte program history to be drafted by an NFL team.
A spot player in his rookie season, Ogunjobi moved into the starting lineup in 2018 and posted consecutive seasons of 5.5 sacks and 50 or more tackles. His stats slipped a bit in 2020, but he was still a serviceable player, especially compared to what the Browns have trotted out at defensive tackle the past two seasons.
Ogunjobi left the Browns in free agency after the 2020 season but did not wander too far, as he played in 2021 for the Cincinnati Bengals and last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he posted his first Pro Football Focus defensive grade above 60 since the 2018 season.
The 2023 NFL Draft will take place from April 27 to April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri.