Browns draft history

April 14, 1996|By Gary Lambrecht

Great drafts

1957: No. 1 pick Jim Brown immediately established himself as a force, retired nine years and 12,312 yards later and is recognized widely as the best running back ever.

1964: By selecting WR Paul Warfield first, then landing lightly regarded Morgan State RB Leroy Kelly in the eighth round, the Browns solidified a team that won its last league championship that year. Warfield and Kelly are Hall of Famers.

1978: The Browns struck gold by making LB Clay Matthews and TE Ozzie Newsome their first two picks. For the next 12 years, they were fixtures in the starting lineup and the Pro Bowl.

1984: First, they found RB Earnest Byner in the 10th round. Later, in the first round of the supplemental draft, FB Kevin Mack was taken. They formed the backfield that led Cleveland to the AFC title games in the 1986 and 1987 seasons.

Not-so-great drafts

1992: RB Tommy Vardell was taken as the top pick, looked promising his first two years, then missed most of the next two seasons with a serious knee injury. He recently signed as a free agent with San Francisco. No one else from that draft is with the team.

1988: Except for DT Michael Dean Perry, selected in the second round, no one had much impact.

1983: WR Ron Brown (second round), DE Reggie Camp (third), T Bill Contz (fifth) and TE Tim Stracka (sixth) were the first four players chosen. Only Camp, who started for three years, made a lasting impression.

First-round hits

1994: CB Antonio Langham and WR Derrick Alexander were first-round picks. Alexander was the team's top kick returner last year. Langham has started every game his first two seasons.

1993: C Steve Everitt has started all but two games. In 1994, he anchored a line that allowed only 14 sacks.

1991: S Eric Turner had started all but three games before missing the last half of 1995 with a back injury. He was a Pro Bowl pick in 1994, when he led NFL with nine interceptions.

1989: RB Eric Metcalf spent six seasons as one of the league's top kick returners before signing as a free agent with Atlanta last year.

1982: LB Chip Banks played in four Pro Bowls in his first five seasons.

1981: Hanford Dixon teamed with Frank Minnifield as one of the NFL's top cornerback tandems of the 1980s.

1978: LB Clay Matthews and TE Ozzie Newsome. Enough said.

1976: RB Mike Pruitt rushed for at least 1,000 yards four times between 1979 and 1983.

1964: WR Paul Warfield helped the Browns win their last NFL title, then helped Miami achieve a perfect season in 1972 before returning to Cleveland.

1957: RB Jim Brown. Enough said.

First-round bombs

1987: LB Mike Junkin lasted two mostly uneventful seasons.

1979: WR Willis Adams spent seven seasons with the Browns. He cracked the starting lineup occasionally in 1983.

1975: DE Mack Mitchell carved no niche during a four-year stay.

1973: WR Steve Holden and G Pete Adams were both gone by 1976. The team saved face by taking RB Greg Pruitt -- a four-time Pro Bowler -- in the second round.

Sleepers who awakened

1991: WR Michael Jackson (sixth round) has started 49 of 69 games and owns a 26.7-yard average on his 28 TD receptions.

1990: DE Rob Burnett (fifth round) has started 64 straight games, and has 35 sacks since 1992.

1985: WR Reggie Langhorne (seventh round) was a fixture through 1991.

1984: RB Earnest Byner (10th round) helped pave the way to back-to-back appearances in the AFC championship game, and is still going strong.

1964: RB Leroy Kelly took over when Jim Brown retired, and fashioned his own Hall of Fame career.

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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