It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for Browns fans. Hope springs eternal every April, and the Browns get ready to draft another highly rated player as the fans hope this will be the year that they turn the corner. Since the Browns came back in 1999, they have drafted 108 players. I went through every single pick and looked at what every player they drafted did; the reason is I wanted to figure out who was the best and worst pick of the Browns since they returned in every round. Since its now officially draft month, now seems like the time to start in round 7 and go forward highlighting the failures and success of the Browns over the last 12 years.
Best 7th rounder is
Paul Zukauskas OG
Zukauskas was drafted in in 2001 out of Boston College. He managed to play 4 years, in 43 games, 18 of which he started. He was signed to play for a 5th year got hurt and never made it back, barring injury it seems that he would have played a few more years. He was a solid back up/ emergency starter. The majority of his starts were filling in thanks to injury. Also towards the end of 2004, his last year in Cleveland, his playing time really fell off. In all fairness this drop off did occur after the man who drafted him, Butch Davis, had resigned. The seventh round isn’t a place most teams find starters, but in this case the Browns found a useful player, which is frankly all any team could want in a 7th rounder. The fact he was useful is enough to make you Paul Zukauskas the greatest Browns 7th rounder since the franchises return.
- · Andre King WR 2001, Miami, 42 games, 3 starts, was a 28 year old rookie but did last 4 years in the league
- · Joe Echemandu RB 2004, California, 19 games, He was considered a fantasy option in his last year in Houston thanks to injuries, only Browns 7th rounder to make a fantasy watch list in season
- · Joaquin Gonzalez OT 2002, Miami, 46 games, 14 starts, Very similar career to Zukauskas just had less starts
· Alex Hall DE 2008, St. Augustine’s, 32 games, 2 starts, Only 7th rounder on this list not drafted by Butch Davis, showed some flashes, still on a roster could end up being the best 7th rounder yet
Worst 7th Rounder is
Manuia Savea OG 2000 University of Arizona
I remember this pick, because I was excited to see the Browns finally draft some offensive lineman. They took a pair of guards one in the 6th round Brad Bedell, and then Savea with the first pick in round 7. This was fair, I mean what expansion team needs to protect their franchise QB, or consider taking a line in the first 20 picks the franchise had.He had fallen on draft day because he was older, 25, but seemed like a nice late pick up. One would think that no matter what a draft pick should make a team as bad as the Browns yet this did not happen. Savea never played a down in the NFL. This did teach the Browns a lesson, I hope, about taking old players with knee injuries. Savea won the award for worst 7th rounder because he was the highest pick 7th rounder who failed to ever play a down.
Dishonorable Mentions (Never played a game in the NFL)
- Eric Chandler DE 2000 Jackson State, that’s right 2 in one draft who never made the cut
- Jon Dunn OT 2005 Virginia Tech, he was huge and that was about it
- Chase Pittman DE 2007 LSU, had toe size to play as a 3-4 end but was unable to even make the practice squad