5 Best Cleveland Browns 5th-round picks since 1999
By Mitch Zoloty
No. 3: Defensive Back, Buster Skrine (2011-2014)
With the 137th pick in the 2011 draft, the Cleveland Browns selected the undersized cornerback from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. This pick ended up being a great selection, as the team would definitely get their money’s worth with Buster Skrine. He may have not been the best player left on the board, as he was taken a few picks ahead of Richard Sherman, but he has a case to be named a top 3-4 player taken in a quality fifth round that year.
Buster Skrine was another 5th round pick the Browns had, like Rashard Higgins, that made it through his entire rookie contract. It was reported that 15 teams, that’s half the league, were interested in signing Skrine out of free agency when he decided to test the market. He would eventually settle on the Jets for a deal covering four years and being worth $25 million. Skrine would play out his entire contract with the Jets, and then was signed by the Bears in 2019 on a contract of 3 years, and 16.6 million dollars.
Skrine was also described by Bears coach Matt Nagy as “one of the better nickels in the league, if not the best.” He has certainly had a very successful NFL career, and the Browns could use someone of his talents on the team right now.
In Skrine’s four seasons on the Cleveland Browns, he played in 64 games, starting 37 of them. In those 64 games he racked up 6 interceptions, 47 passes defended, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 235 tackles, and 5 tackles for loss. That is a great amount of production for someone who came to the Browns as a day three draft pick.
Some fans and analysts were not a big fan of Buster Skrine, and Pro Football Focus even named him as the “one of the worst free agency signings of 2015”. You can argue that he may not have been worth the money he was given, but the Jets valued him enough to keep him for his entire contract, as did the Browns on his rookie deal. The Bears even gave him a third NFL contract, one making a good amount of money too, as he makes little over an average of 5 million dollars a year with them.
Buster Skrine is well-deserving of the No. 3 spot on this list, and is one of the two active players on this list. He could still finish as having the best overall career of anyone on this list, although that seems unlikely considering he is now 30.