Cleveland Browns: Re-drafting last five 1st-round classes

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Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cameron Erving (Florida State) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number 19th overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always interesting to look back at prior drafts and see who your team passed on, and the result they actually received with each draft pick. Every team hits and misses in the NFL Draft, I mean imagine trying to explain to someone how Blaine Gabbert was taken before J.J. Watt? Or how Victor Cruz went from an undrafted wide receiver out of Massachusetts, to a super bowl champion and one of the more dynamic players at his position?

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Some players are products of a system, while others are the complete opposite. I was always someone that never put too much stock in the word “talent.” In my work, I refrain from using that word when describing a productive player because I think people use the word without truly understanding the meaning.

Let me ask you this: were Kurt Warner or Tony Romo less talented when they entered the league as undrafted free agents? No, they just proved themselves through opportunity. Now looking back at their careers you think of them as one of the more productive quarterbacks of their generation. Before they proved themselves, many questioned whether they were “talented” enough to be viable options at the NFL level.

So, instead of calling players talented, I like to use the word “proven” instead. That’s just my thing. Anyway, let’s get to who I would re-draft in the last five first-round Cleveland Browns draft classes. I have a few rules though:

  1. I won’t include this past draft class because nobody has been able to prove themselves yet, so it wouldn’t be fair to judge this early on in the process.
  2. The way I pick who could’ve been drafted over another, depends solely on who was available at their spot in the first-round, whether that player was actually taken in the first-round or not.
  3. It’s going to look like an all-star team, but hey, this is all in good fun. It’s easy to look back now and critique, but on draft day you have no idea what the future holds, no matter who you select. It’s interesting to think what could’ve been.

Next: 2010 First-Round