Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
As the Browns bear down for the 20th draft of their expansion era, John Dorsey is the new man in charge.
His predecessors – Dwight Clark, Butch Davis, Phil Savage, Eric Mangini, Tom Heckert, Joe Banner, Ray Farmer and Sashi Brown – have produced their share of foul-ups, clunks and bust-outs. Hence, two winning seasons in 19 years.
But there have been some successes, too.
Below is a veritable all-time first round of Browns drafts. These may not be the top 32 players in expansion Browns history; but rather, the team’s best 32 draft picks – based on production, accomplishments and value. They are listed with the person responsible for their selection.
1. Left tackle Joe Thomas, 2007, first round, No. 3 overall (Savage).
What will he be doing in five years when awaiting induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, class of 2023?
2. Defensive end Myles Garrett, 2017, first round, No. 1 (Brown).
Reasonable growth in Year 2 would be doubling rookie output of seven sacks.
3. Center Alex Mack, 2009, first round, No. 21 (Mangini).
Seven seasons, five Pro Bowls, two teams, one Super Bowl.
4. Cornerback Joe Haden, 2010, first round, No. 7 (Heckert).
He never duplicated his six interceptions as a rookie, but he was good.
5. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, 2012, second round, No. 37 (Heckert).
Look out Joe Thomas: He has six years, 96 games, of never missing a snap – more than halfway to Thomas’ 10,363.
6. Quarterback Tim Couch, 1999, first round, No. 1 (Clark).
The winningest quarterback in Browns expansion history returns this summer as preseason TV analyst.
7. Wide receiver Josh Gordon, 2012 (supplemental), second round (Heckert).
Despite missing 56 games in five seasons to league and team suspensions, he still has the chance to impact a franchise turnaround. Just turned 27.
8. Defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, 2008, sixth round, No. 190 (Savage).
Dependably started 70 games in a five-year stretch, salvaging a forgettable draft. His time was rewarded with two playoff seasons in Seattle and one in Atlanta.
9. Defensive end Jabaal Sheard, 2011, second round, No. 37 (Heckert).
A productive defensive end in a 4-3, his third and fourth seasons were wasted as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Earned a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots – naturally, as a 4-3 end.
10. Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, 2006, second round, No. 34 (Savage).
After starting 96 games in seven years with the Browns, his career peaked with a Pro Bowl year and AFC championship appearance with the Colts.
11. Strong safety T.J. Ward, 2010, second round, No. 38 (Heckert).
Forced to leave in free agency after making the Pro Bowl in his fourth season, he followed with three productive seasons in Denver, including a Super Bowl championship.
12. Defensive back Anthony Henry, 2001, fourth round, No. 97 (Davis).
The last Brown to lead the league in interceptions (10 as a rookie), he helped change the culture early on and started 10 games in their only playoff season.
13. Linebacker/defensive end Kamerion Wimbley, 2006, first round, No. 13 (Savage).
A ‘tweener who never matched his 11 sacks as a rookie but ended a nine-year career – including two with Oakland and three with Tennessee -- with a respectable 53.5.
14. Left guard Joel Bitonio, 2014, second round, No. 35 (Farmer).
Hopefully, his injuries are behind him, because when healthy he is very good.
15. Linebacker Christian Kirksey, 2014, third round, No. 71 (Farmer).
Has developed into a team leader in the past two seasons as a starter.
16. Tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., 2004, first round, No. 6 (Davis).
If not for a motorcycle accident and then a staph infection, he might have surpassed his dad’s Hall of Fame accomplishments.
17. Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, 2005, first round, No. 3 (Savage).
His 16 TDs in 2007 are tied for fourth-most in Browns history, and his 1,289 receiving yards that season are second to Gordon’s 1,646. But that was pretty much it.
18. Fullback Lawrence Vickers, 2006, sixth round, No. 180 (Savage).
His passionate lead blocking produced two of the best team rushing seasons in 2009 and 2010.
19. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, 2016, second round, No. 32 (Brown).
Scheme change led to major growth in second year before broken foot cost him last five games.
20. Wide receiver/return specialist Travis Benjamin, 2012, fourth round, No. 100 (Heckert).
Three return TDs and a 15.4-yard receiving average in four seasons; yes, he lived up to “the Rabbit” – one of the great nicknames in franchise history.
21. Cornerback Daylon McCutcheon, 1999, third round, No. 62 (Clark).
He started 96 games in seven seasons and had two Pick 6’s.
22. Center Jeff Faine, 2003, first round, No. 21 (Davis).
Savage, who didn’t draft him, traded him after his third year, and he went on to start 88 games with the Saints, Bucs and Bengals.
23. Defensive end Courtney Brown, 2000, first round, No. 1 (Clark).
He never missed a practice at Penn State due to injury; nobody disagreed with his selection at the time. But his Browns career – kicked off by two wins in his first three Steelers games, pre-Roethlisberger – was plagued by injuries that cost him 33 games in five seasons.
24. Wide receiver Kevin Johnson, 1999, second round, No. 32 (Clark).
He had two real good years in four seasons, averaging 1,041 yards and 8.5 touchdowns in them.
25. Inside linebacker Andra Davis, 2002, fifth round, No. 141 (Davis).
One of the five players – and the only draft choice -- to experience the only two winning seasons of the expansion era, 2002 and 2007.
26. Running back Jerome Harrison, 2006, fifth round, No. 145 (Savage).
His 34-carry, 286-yard, 3-TD rushing performance against the Chiefs in 2009 is tops in franchise history. He also has two of the top 10 longest runs from scrimmage in club annals – yes, counting Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly et al.
27. Cornerback Eric Wright, 2007, second round, No. 53 (Savage).
He had nine interceptions in four seasons as a starter.
28. Cornerback Buster Skrine, 2011, fifth round, No. 137 (Heckert).
Was rewarded with a big contract from the Jets in free agency after four productive years as a Browns nickel back. So durable for so small.
29. Safety Sean Jones, 2004, second round, No. 59 (Davis).
A big, strong safety who had 14 interceptions in three starting seasons.
30. Middle linebacker Joe Schobert, 2016, fourth round, No. 99 (Brown).
Made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in his first season as a starter.
31. Safety/special teamer Don Carey, 2009, sixth round, No. 177 (Mangini).
Poached by the Jaguars after a final roster cut, he has survived eight NFL seasons – seven with the Lions – as a special teams core player.
32. Long snapper Ryan Pontbriand, 2003, fifth round, No. 142 (Davis).
Two Pro Bowl seasons in nine years before the yips chased him out of the league, his No. 54 jersey was the perfect prop in Mike Polk Jr.’s “Factory of Sadness” viral rant.
Total top-32 picks by: