The Cleveland Browns have seen 2 decades of chaos and a lot of talented players go to waste. They have finally figured out the perfect combination from front office people, the general manager, and the head coach. The Browns have managed to make a cultural change. After going through 20 players in the quarterback position, the Browns have found their guy in Baker Mayfield.
Since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, they have been constantly trying to build and re-build the team. Many general managers tried. Many head coaches came and went, none of whom could help turn the Browns franchise around. Now they finally have a roster that can compete and contend for the ultimate prize, the Super Bowl championship.
With the 2021 NFL draft right around the corner, the Cleveland Browns sit with the 26th overall pick. Cleveland has a long history of missing out with the choice of players they pick. However, they also made some great choices of players that have helped the team become what they are now, a contender. So, let’s look at the top 5 Cleveland Browns’ draft picks since 2000.
Cleveland Browns' top 5 draft picks since 2000.
5. QB Baker Mayfield. (No1 overall, 2018)
The Browns’ two-decade-long quest for a franchise quarterback came to an end in 2018 when they selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick. After throwing an NFL rookie record 27 touchdown passes in 14 games, the 2018 Heisman winner struggled in his second season but showed his talent in the 2020 season. Leading the Browns not only into the playoffs for the first time since 2002, but taking them a step further.
4. CB Denzel Ward (No4 overall, 2018)
Denzel Ward was selected three picks after Baker Mayfield. It did not take Denzel time to make an impact, picking off Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in his NFL debut. He was able to earn Pro Bowl honors as a rookie. Even though he has been limited by injuries, he is viewed as one of the cornerstones for the Browns’ defense. The Ohio State University product has lived up to his talents.
3. C Alex Mack (No21 overall, 2009)
After entering the 2009 pick with the no 5 overall pick, the Browns traded all the way back to no 21, where they picked center Alex Mack. Mack would go on to become one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL, earning three Pro Bowl selections in seven seasons with the Browns. A 3-time second-team All-Pro selection, Alex Mack was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s.
2 DE Myles Garrett. (No1 overall, 2017)
The top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Myles Garrett has already established himself as one of the NFL’s top pass-rushers. After totaling 42.5 sacks in his 142 starts, which included the 13.5 Pro Bowl Campaign in 2018, the Texas A&M product was suspended for an eight-game 2019 campaign for striking Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head. He was in the running for the Defensive Player of the year in 2020 before getting side-lined by the Covid-19, which affected his production later in the season. Myles Garrett is another cornerstone player for the Browns’ defense.
1 LT Joe Thomas (No3 overall, 2007)
While the Browns are not known for their decision-making when it comes to draft choices, they could not have gotten it any better than they did with taking Joe Thomas, the 3rd overall in the 2007 NFL draft. Joe Thomas spent the entirety of his Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Browns, earning 10 straight Pro Bowl selections from 2007-2016. In that span, the Wisconsin product was named to first-team All-Pro seven times (2009-2011,2013-2016) and second-team twice (2008,2012). While playing in the Browns uniform, Thomas showed extreme durability by setting a consecutive snaps record of 10,363 snaps. When that streak came to a stop in 2017, Joe decided to hang up his cleats. Joe Thomas was one of the eight unanimous selections to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s.