Cleveland Browns: Recent history of bad first round picks


The Cleveland Browns must draft well this season in order to make things right after so many terrible first-round selections in the NFL Draft.

March is upon us which means we are one month closer to the much anticipated 2016 NFL Draft. With the second pick, the Cleveland Browns have a chance to right the wrongs of the past and select a player who can help turn the team into a winner.

The team has had chances to do so in the past, but a lack of consistent leadership has led to bad selections and a slew of busts.

Two of the most famous busts of recent history go by the names of Johnny Manziel and Justin Gilbert respectively.

Their stories are well-known in Northeast Ohio, but they can serve as an example for how not to go about selecting players when in possession of valuable first-round picks.

Both players were fantastic athletes in college, giving them the look of professionals. But that was far from the truth.

According to reports, the Browns barely knew anything about Gilbert before drafting him, and the coaching staff was not exactly on board with drafting Manziel in the first place.

This is the exact opposite path to success, and is the reason why the Browns find themselves with the second overall pick in this year’s draft.

The 2014 first round of busts came just two years after a nearly identical situation.

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In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Browns selected both Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden in the first round. Those selections are laughable now, and were not perceived much better when they were made in 2012.

The worst part about the situation is that when Trent Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, that pick was used to take Manziel. The Browns would have been better off just keeping Richardson to avoid the headache that was the Manziel experience in Cleveland.

The Colts would have been better off not making the trade too because who in their right mind gives up a first-round pick for Trent Richardson? A very Browns-like move by the Colts there.

The Browns tried to fix the problem and go defense in the first rounds in both 2013 and 2015, but Barkevious Mingo and Danny Shelton have done little to help a defense struggling to stop any offense in the NFL.

This makes this year’s draft of utmost importance, as is the case most years. The different is that Jimmy Haslam has brought in a collective brain trust unlike one seen in this franchise before.

If this group drafts players who turn out to be busts, all credibility within the organization will be lost and it will remain the punchline it has been since 1999.