Cleveland Browns: 15 best defensive backs of all time

Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images) /
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53. . CB/S. 1946-51. Cliff Lewis. 10. player

Greatest defensive backs in Cleveland Browns history: #10. Cliff Lewis

The 1940s era of football was so different from what we are used to today. Back then, you could have an interesting story like the way Cliff Lewis was drafted into professional football.

Back in 1946, the Los Angeles Rams selected Lewis with the No. 200 overall pick, but they didn’t realize he still had a year of eligibility remaining. Thus, he was deemed to be ineligible to play in the NFL. That led to him signing with the Browns while they were still a part of the AAFC.

Once on the Cleveland roster, Lewis began to play quarterback and split snaps with the legendary Otto Graham. When not playing under center, Lewis spent time as a defensive back. He played just two games under center as a rookie and was 11-of-30 passing with a touchdown and an interception. In 10 games on defense that season, Lewis had five interceptions.

After Graham took over full-time at quarterback, Lewis moved to the defensive side of the ball and was also used on special teams as a return man. He continued to occasionally play on offense but never had more than 11 passes in a season.

Overall, he was 30-of-69 passing for 514 yards with seven touchdowns and five picks. Lewis proved to be a better player on the other side of the ball, registering 30 career interceptions which places him at No. 6 overall in their history.

Lewis played just six seasons of pro football but was fortunate enough to win five titles. He was a four-time AAFC Champion and then won the 1950 NFL Championship as well. In 1976, he was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame for his impressive career.