For fans of the Cleveland Browns, the NFL draft is either a day to look forward to or one that adds to a long list of disappointments.
Since the Browns returned in 1999, the draft has been somewhat of a circus for the Browns, especially the first round. Now, there's been good players taken in the first round. For example, Joe Thomas was taken as the third pick of the draft in 2007 and was a fixture at the all-important left tackle position for years.
But also taken in that first round was the 22nd pick Brady Quinn, a career backup to such players as Derek Anderson and Kyle Orton.
Just seven years later, another 22nd pick was the one and only Johnny Manziel. Johnny Football had a great, two-year career at Texas A&M, and came to the NFL with all the maturity of a sophomore fraternity boy. Make that, a freshman fraternity boy. One that didn't make his grades. And got kicked out of the fraternity. After departing Cleveland, Manziel made a quick trip to the Canadian League and then joined the spring league before it folded a year ago.
The amazing thing is that Manziel wasn't even the biggest bust for the Browns in that draft. Drafted 14 places ahead of him by the Browns was Justin Gilbert, a defensive back from Oklahoma State. After three seasons, he was out of the NFL.
But since Manziel was taken in 2014, the first round has been pretty dismal for Cleveland. Of the eight players taken since then, four are no longer on the team. In fact, since 2010, 11 of the 15 players selected in the first round ended up on other teams.
In fact, of the 26 players drafted since 1999, only Thomas, Myles Garrett, David Njoku, Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward are the only players that have not been traded or left. But then, other than Thomas, the others have been in the league just three years or less.
It's not that the players were bad, but most were not first-round quality. With the first round being so important, a team needs more hits than misses. Players like William Green, Jeff Faine and Kamerion Wimbley might have been marginal players, but they weren't first rounders.
In 2004-2005, the Browns selected a pair of skill players that never lived up to their billing. Kellen Winslow Jr. was too busy pretending to be Evel Knieval to live up to his father's name, while Braylon Edwards had a lot in common with Roberto Duran: hands of stone. He was an expert on dropped passes.
And then there's the quarterback position in all of the draft, not just the first round. This has been the most frustrating of positions since 1999. Yes, Tim Couch was a “bust,” but remember, he is the only quarterback to lead the Browns to a playoff victory since then. Perhaps if he had an offensive line, things might have been different.
What's interesting is the Browns also drafted The Spergon Wynn in that same draft. The Spergon Wynn. I had to look up his name twice to make sure I spelled it correctly.
Why is this interesting? He was drafted ahead of Tom Brady. Want to compare career stats? I'll give you a hint: Wynn's career NFL quarterback rating is less than 40. Brady's is almost 2.5 times more.
Then, there was Charlie Frye, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer. All were saviors of Browns football. But not quite...
Last year was a huge disappointment for Browns fans. Mayfield took a step back. One of the reasons is his offensive line wasn't a strong point. A left tackle would improve that situation.
There have been rumors of the Browns trading their 10th pick and moving down, getting an additional draft choice. To put it simply, it doesn't work. You need something more than big guys.
The one player that lasted in Cleveland and had a stellar career was Thomas. No, an offensive tackle isn't an exciting choice. But it is a choice that could greatly help the team.
It will be interesting.