NFL's Worst Drafting Franchise Since 1999: 10 Picks That Could Have Been

Jim McCarthy, Jr.@@JimMcCarthyJrCorrespondent IFebruary 1, 2011

NFL's Worst Drafting Franchise Since 1999: 10 Picks That Could Have Been

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    The NFL Draft is a very exciting time for NFL fans and their respective teams.

    It doesn't matter if your team hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade because when April rolls around we all start to believe that one great NFL draft could mean a Lombardi Trophy in February.

    In anticipation of the 2011 NFL Draft lets look at an NFL franchise that just can't seem to get it right.

    Since 1999, this NFL team has made more first-round blunders than any other NFL franchise. Here are 10 First Round Picks That Could Have Been....

The Cleveland Browns: Draft LOSERS

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    Ever since the "New" Browns were brought back as an expansion franchise, the team and it's fans have been haunted by horrendous draft picks year in and year out.

    Out of the 12 first-round draft selections the Browns have made since 1999, only one of them has made multiple Pro Bowls: Left Tackle Joe Thomas.

    Here is a list of 10 draft selections that just may have changed the course of history for the NFL's most tortured franchise.

10. LaVar Arrington Instead Of Courney Brown

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    In the 2000 NFL Draft, the Browns selected DE Courtney Brown first overall. He would go on to play only one full season for the Cleveland Browns.

    After Brown, six of the next nine picks would go on to make Pro Bowl appearances, including the Nittany Lion the Browns should have selected: LB LaVar Arrington.

9. Dwayne Bowe Instead Of Brady Quinn

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    In 2007 Phil Savage traded multiple picks to select Brady Quinn at No. 22. Even though Browns fans were excited to "steal" the Notre Dame QB so late in the first round, they could have selected WR Dwayne Bowe who ended up being selected next at No. 23 by the Chiefs.

    Even though it was a sexy pick at the time, both Quinn and Savage wouldn't last long in Cleveland.

8. Clay Matthews Instead of Alex Mack

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    I want to be clear here, Alex Mack was a solid choice at No. 21 for Eric Mangini and the Browns in 2008.

    However Cleveland fans have to wonder what might have been if the son of a former Browns legend was selected instead.

    Clay Matthews Jr. was selected only five picks later at No. 26 by the Green Bay Packers.

7. Dallas Clark Instead Of Jeff Faine

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    In 2003 the Browns selected another Center with their first pick, Jeff Faine from Notre Dame at No. 21.

    Just two selections, later the Colts would select TE Dallas Clark out of Iowa.

6. LaDainian Tomlinson Instead Of Gerard Warren

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    In 2001, the Browns had yet another high selection at No. 3 overall.

    Instead of choosing future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, Butch Davis decided to take one of his own recruits from Florida, "Big Money" Gerard Warren.

    Both Davis and Warren would be run out of Cleveland a few years later.

5. Richard Seymour Instead Of Gerard Warren

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    You think Browns fans would have loved to see this from a guy in Brown & Orange?

    Let's just assume that Butch Davis needed a Defensive Lineman in 2001, so instead of L.T. they could have grabbed DE Richard Seymour who was taken just three picks later at No. 6.

4. Haloti Ngata Instead Of Kamerion Wimbley

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    In 2005 the Browns selected DE Kamerion Wimbley with the No. 13 pick overall. With the next selection their divisional rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, selected DT Haloti Ngata.

    Once again, the Browns missed another opportunity to select a perennial Pro Bowler. 

3. Ed Reed Instead Of William Green

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    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    In 2002, the Browns would miss out on yet another future Hall of Famer in Ed Reed.

    The Browns selected RB William Green out of Boston College with their No. 16 overall draft selection.

    The Ravens again were there to make the Browns front office look bad with their selection of Reed at No. 24.

2. Donovan McNabb Instead Of Tim Couch

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    This is where it all began. In 1999, the new expansion Browns selected QB Tim Couch with the first overall selection. Talk about getting off to a bad start.

    Although Couch ended up starting the most games for the Browns than any other QB in the new era, you can't help but wonder what might have been if they selected Donovan McNabb, who went next at No. 2.

1. Ben Roethlisberger Instead Of Kellen Winslow

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    Its been over a decade since the Browns were brought to Cleveland and they have yet to find a franchise QB.

    In 2004, the Browns chose TE Kellen Winslow instead of snagging QB Ben Roethlisberger, who went No. 11 overall to the Steelers.

    We all know how that one turned out. Both had trouble with motorcycles, but only one has led their AFC North team to multiple Super Bowls.

The Nightmare Continues....

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    Between 1999 and 2010, five different regimes have been in charge of NFL Drafts in Cleveland. In 2010 the Browns finally made a good decision when they brought former coach Mike Holmgren in to run their football operations.

    They even showed some improvement in the draft as they selected CB Joe Haden in the first round and SS T.J. Ward early in the second round. Let's hope for Cleveland's sake that in 2011, the tide will start to turn on the shores of Lake Erie.