1. Jim Brown, 1957
The best rookie season ever for the Cleveland Browns also came from the best player to ever play for the Cleveland Browns. Coming out of Syracuse in 1957, Jim Brown was an absolute stud of an athlete. He wasn’t just a star football player but also excelled at basketball, lacrosse, and track and field.
As good as he was at every sport he tried, football was always where Brown was at his best and that led to Cleveland drafting him sixth overall in the 1957 NFL Draft. And then all he did once he joined the team was run over the competition.
Brown started all 12 games during his rookie season and he was able to run for 942 yards — which ironically enough was the lowest total of his entire career. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t phenomenal as a rookie though, it just means he was unstoppable in each following season.
In addition to his 942 yards, Brown ran in nine touchdowns while scoring one more time on a receiving touchdown. He also showed off how he could take over a single game as he set the team rookie record for yards and touchdowns in a single game when he trampled the Los Angeles Rams defense to the tune of 237 yards and four touchdowns.
There’s never been a player who could dominate the league for the Browns the way Jim Brown did. And he started doing that for them from the moment he stepped into the NFL as a rookie.