Who is the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear No 74?
The Countdown to the 2020 NFL season is upon us. With 74 days remaining until the Browns season opener, we continue the countdown by celebrating the best Cleveland Browns player to ever wear number 74: Paul Farren.
The Cleveland Browns have a storied history of stellar left tackles throughout the years. You can trace the lineage all the way back from 1948 until 2017. From Lou ‘The Toe’ Groza to Dick Schafrath to Doug Dieken to….Paul Farren.
Farren is often overlooked in the history of the left tackle position for the Browns. While Farren was not an All-Pro like Groza and Schafrath or a team leader like Dieken, he was a solid starter that held his own against the very best of the NFL during his career.
Farren was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 12th round of the 1983 NFL draft out of Boston University. Keep in mind, from 1977 to 1992, the 12th round was the final round of the NFL draft. Finding a prospect that late in the draft from an unheralded school like Boston University, not to be confused with Boston College, was a highly unlikely outcome. But that is exactly what happened.
When Farren joined the Browns in 1983, Dieken was still manning the left tackle position. They were afforded the luxury of developing Farren and bringing him along slowly. Listed at 6-foot-5 and 272lbs., Farren had the size and athleticism to play tackle at the NFL level, but coming from a smaller school he was definitely considered a project. In 1984, Farren started six games at right tackle.
However, when Dieken retired following the 1984 season, Farren was tabbed as the Browns next left tackle. He seized the opportunity. The Browns also drafted their future franchise quarterback in the supplemental draft that year, Bernie NAME Kosar, so the stakes for the young left tackle were as high as they possibly could have been.
Farren would go on to man the left tackle position for six seasons. For many Browns fans, those particular six seasons were the last sweet spot that the franchise has enjoyed. Farren was the left tackle for every postseason appearance from 1986 to 1989, seven games in total.
During his time at left tackle, Farren survived through two different head coaching changes. However, it would be the third head coaching change, when a young Bill Belichick took over following the 1990 season, which would signal the end of Farren’s time in Cleveland. Belichick opted to move Tony Jones over from right tackle to man the left side, and Farren retired following the 1991 season.
Farren may not have had the accolades and popularity that his predecessors enjoyed, but he held down the left tackle position for the Browns during their last tangible successful era. That alone makes Farren the best player to wear number 74 for the Cleveland Browns.