"Big Penny" short-changed all Browns faithful during his time in Cleveland.
The 2012 NFL Draft is just over three months away. In a couple of weeks every team will send their scouts, coaches, and other team personnel to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. Here, the future stars of the of the league will showcase their talents and personalities.
As a Browns fan, you have to be extremely confident and happy that Tom Heckert is the General Manager. In the past two years, his top two picks have produced four starters. Heckert and the Browns selected Joe Haden and T.J. Ward in 2010. This past year, he chose Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard.
I'm comfortable that in this year's draft, Tom Heckert and Co. will again bring us three more starters to help the team, and most likely on the offensive side of the ball.
It's just too bad it had to take this long to start making progress. The following slides will show you just how bad the front office was over the past decade, up until 2010.
What if the Cleveland Browns had returned one year earlier in 1998? They could have easily ruined any chance Peyton Manning would have had at his Hall of Fame career. Based on what we know, the Cleveland Browns most likely would have chosen Ryan Leaf, thus not disabling anyone's chance of success other than their own.
After each slide, I've listed the hindsight 20/20 draft choice as well.
Let's relive the agony, shall we?
After being considered a possibility to go first overall, and then in the top three, then the top 10, he fell all the way down to No. 22. Phil Savage couldn't resist the urge, and made the trade up to select the hometown boy to groom as the future quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
It made sense at the time. They selected Joe Thomas, the 'right' pick at No. 3. If we could get Quinn also, awesome!
Everyone loved Brady Quinn at No. 22, definitely not at No. 3.
He was the little kid wearing a No. 19 jersey, rooting for the Browns and now finally getting to play for his favorite team as a child. Fans were rooting for him to do well. In his first start against Denver, he had a very good game, almost battling back to win on national television.
But Brady Quinn never made it. Whether it was due to his own inability, the play-calling, or the fact that he never had a large enough book of work to show for. The ship on Brady Quinn sailed him right to Denver, where he has been exiled to warming the bench behind Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow.
Nobody disliked the drafting of Tim Tebow more than Brady Quinn.
On the flip-side, the trade worked out beautifully for Cleveland. It brought us a sixth-round pick and Peyton Hillis. But that is now fizzling as well.
Hindsight 20/20 draft selection: Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
Nice guy, just didn't work out for the Browns.
The conversation went back and forth pre-draft between picking Kamerion Wimbley or Haloti Ngata. Which one will the Browns select? They just couldn't pick their poison that year. And when they were faced with the reality of that same question at pick No.12, Phil Savage decided to let his former boss Ozzie Newsome, and the Baltimore Ravens, make the choice for them.
The Browns traded back one spot, yielding an extra sixth-round pick, and being left with Wimbley. That extra pick ended up being a player by the name of Baba Oshinowo, DT, Stanford.
Yeah, I don't remember him either. But I would definitely trade him and Wimbley both for Ngata right now.
Meanwhile, Haloti Ngata became an instant star in Baltimore, earning three trips to the Pro Bowl.
Wimbley is with his second team, finally producing, but still just an average player.
Hindsight 20/20 draft selection: Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon
Butch Davis. Give him all the power, and let him take his best guess. In 2001, Davis and the Browns selected Gerard Warren, DT, Florida. Many scouts and other NFL personnel were much higher on a player name Richard Seymour, from Georgia, who played the same position.
Maybe it was his success against Miami, or that Butch Davis was very familiar with the man now known in Cleveland as "Big Penny," but one thing is for sure: Big Penny never returned on the investment.
Warren showed glimpses of being the guy the Browns needed. Occassionally he caused a disruption for opposing offenses and quarterbacks. Who can forget the hit on Mark Brunell, or the comments he made regarding an upcoming game against the Pittsburgh Steelers?
But Warren quickly fell out of favor in Cleveland, and his mouth kept writing checks that his performance couldn't cash. In 2005, he and a number of other cast-offs, including fellow draft bust Courtney Brown, were unloaded to Denver.
And this year, he's playing in the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Go figure.
Maybe Big Money will finally "cash in."
Hindsight 20/20 draft selection: LaDanian Tomlinson, RB, TCU
I know we didn't have a 1st Round pick this year, but...
Are you kidding me? How is this?
In Round 4, the Cleveland Browns with Phil Savage selected Beau Bell, LB, UNLV. He was the most celebrated fourth-round pick ever because it was the team's first selection in 2008.
There was a reason he was drafted in Round 4. I don't know what everyone was thinking. He was never going to be more than a backup.
Meanwhile, other teams were busy selecting future stars. Just take a look at the names that went in the first and second rounds that year:
Round 1: Jake Long, Matt Ryan, Jerod Mayo, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Johnson.
Round 2: Jordy Nelson, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Ray Rice.
Round 3: Jamaal Charles
We passed up on all of them due to the incompetence running the Browns' front office. They didn't have anything of any value to trade up to get at least one of these players? Horrible.
Hindsight 20/20 draft selection: ANYONE listed above!
The Cleveland Browns traded down again, this time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who selected Josh Freeman. The Browns received the 19th pick overall.
And again, the Cleveland Browns traded their pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected Jeremy Maclin. The Browns received the 21st pick overall.
Finally, with the 21st pick overall, the Cleveland Browns selected Alex Mack.
Luckily, Mack has not been a bust. He has become a constant on the Browns offensive line, along with Joe Thomas, and has done a great job. The other picks used in the trades: wasted.
With the exception of Mohamed Massaquoi and Kaluka Maiava, only because they are still on the team, the rest of the draft was a disaster. Massaquoi and Maiava are backups at best.
Mangini and the Browns passed up on so much talent that Cleveland was set back 5 years.
The Browns 2009 selections in Rounds.1 and 2:
(1) Alex Mack, C -Current starter for the Browns
(2) Brian Robiskie, WR -Cut by the Browns in 2011
(2) Mohamed Massaquoi, WR -Current starter for the Browns
(2) David Veikune, LB - Cut by Browns in 2010. Starting DE for the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Hindsight 20/20 draft selections: (Multiple)
(1) Clay Matthews Jr., LB
(2) Max Unger, C
(2) LeSean McCoy, RB
(2) Mike Wallace, WR
Run William, Run!
Without getting too much into it, the Baltimore Ravens selected Ed Reed eights spots later. But who saw that coming?
In Round 2, Clinton Portis was selected by the Denver Broncos. Way to blow that one Butch.
We all know hindsight is 20/20.
Did anyone know that LeSean McCoy and Mike Wallace would become excellent players in the NFL? Maybe.
What about Wimbley and Ngata? Toss up? We could easily be talking about how we should have taken Wimbley if it were reversed. In fact, I bet Wimbley would have succeeded in Baltimore.
And that's what it all comes down to. Not only is it the talent and skill set of the player, but the team, organization, and system he is paired with.
McNabb would have been Tim Couch.
Richard Seymour could have been a bust in Cleveland.
LaVarr Arrington over Courtney Brown? Really?
You can't make the right choice every time, but how can a team be so wrong, so consistently?
Here's to the Browns keeping the "Bust Train" off the tracks.