As fans of every team have found out, the NFL draft is mostly luck with only the rare few actually hitting on more than one or two selections each year. That is one of the reasons that teams who are tearing down to rebuild want “more bites at the apple,” as the saying goes.
For the Browns, a lot of their foundation has come from the draft but trades, especially the one for Deshaun Watson, have taken away a lot of the fun from that event for the fans.
ESPN’s Matt Miller and Jordan Reid combined on an exercise to see what drafted players were the biggest steals of the last decade. They did not include any first-round selections and not that undrafted players were not included either. Of their top 50 steals of the last decade (subscriber, $), two current Cleveland players are listed as steals:
#25 Nick Chubb
Chubb didn’t let a nasty knee injury in his sophomore year at Georgia sideline his career, nor did he let being the fourth running back drafted in 2018 slow him down. Chubb has four straight 1,000-yard seasons and was just four yards short of the mark as a rookie. The four-time Pro Bowler has helped turn the Browns from perennial losers into playoff contenders. — Miller
#37 Wyatt Teller
Teller slipped to the fifth round of the 2018 draft after scouts saw a drop in play from his junior year to senior season. Selected by the Bills, Teller started seven games as a rookie before being traded to the Browns, with whom his career took off. A two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, Teller is now one of the best guards in football. — Miller
For the Browns, both players hold a sort of asterisk. As noted, Teller was drafted by Buffalo but was traded soon after to Cleveland where he has shone brightly.
With Chubb, it is always an interesting side note that Rashaad Penny was the team’s primary target but when he was selected a few picks earlier, the Georgia back got the call. How much different the Browns world would be if Penny, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, was still available with the 35th pick.
The other caveat with Chubb’s selection is that he was the team’s fourth overall pick that season and second in the second round after Austin Corbett was taken with the 33rd pick.
Thankfully, it all worked out for Cleveland and Chubb. On top of that, the Bills didn’t know what they had and put Teller in a position to become one of the best guards in the NFL.
Two draft steals on the Browns current roster, both with interesting ways they got there.