CLEVELAND — It's that time of year, Browns fans. The NFL draft is upon us, and this time it will be right in our own backyard.
In recent memory, most of us have been used to the Browns picking somewhere near the top 10 (or top five?) of the first round, hoping they select that special player that can turn the franchise around. Now, that day has arrived, and after a magical 2020 season Cleveland finds itself waiting until No. 26 to be on the clock. It's a good thing this year's draft is right in the shadow of FirstEnergy Stadium, or most of us might look at the event as boring...wonderfully, blissfully boring.
But I digress. As we know, booms and busts can be found throughout the draft. The Browns know that all too well, having hit some remarkable home runs to go with some devastating whiffs over the years. That's why we're going to take a trip down memory lane, asking you to help us name the team's best and worst first-round picks since they first entered the NFL way back in 1950.
Here are my choices:
- Jim Brown - No. 6 overall, 1956: Somehow five players went ahead of him, although in fairness two ended up being fellow Hall of Famers.
- Joe Thomas - No. 3 overall, 2007: A rare slam-dunk in a dark era for drafting. Unfortunately, they butchered just about every other pick.
- Paul Warfield - No. 11 overall, 1964: He was merely a supporting player in Woody Hayes' run-happy Ohio State offense. He went on to become the greatest wide receiver in Browns history.
Honorable mentions: Ozzie Newsome, Hanford Dixon, Baker Mayfield
- Justin Gilbert - No. 8 overall, 2014: Of the players selected Nos. 5-17 in this draft, only one never made a Pro Bowl. Guess who it was? (Thanks, Ray Farmer).
- Mike Phipps - No. 3 overall, 1970: Remember Paul Warfield? The Browns traded him for a chance to select a guy who once threw five interceptions in a playoff game.
- "Johnny Football" - No. 22 overall, 2014: Do I need to say anything more? (Again, thanks, Ray Farmer).
(Dis)honorable mentions: Bobby Garrett, Courtney Brown, Corey Coleman
We got a few of your suggestions in the past week, and we put them together in a poll so decide the winner (and loser...). Vote now and 3News reveal the top selections Thursday morning on "GO!"
We look forward to hearing from you! Also, please, try not to let some of the bad picks make you cry...