Top 5 Cleveland Browns draft classes in the SB era

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Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND – 1987: Defensive backs Hanford Dixon #29 and Frank Minnifield #31 of the Cleveland Browns draw plays in the dirt on the field before a game at Municipal Stadium circa 1987 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

With the draft season upon us, we take a look back at the top five draft classes during the super bowl era for the Cleveland Browns.

As with any draft class, there will be more misses than there are hits. The key to a successful draft is to walk away with multiple impact players at crucial positions.

The amount of work that goes into scouting, player evaluations, and medicals is staggering. But still, at the end of the day, it’s a crapshoot.

We are only going to focus on the hits, because…well, there simply is not enough time to cover all the misses. Without further ado, here are the Cleveland Browns best draft classes during the super bowl era.

Draft Class No. 5: 1981

In the 1981 draft, the Cleveland Browns took a feisty cornerback out of Southern Mississippi with the 22nd overall pick in the first-round, Hanford Dixon. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound defensive back was the genuine article.

Dixon, or ‘Top Dawg’ as became to be known, was the heartbeat of the Browns defense in the 1980s. Along with his running mate at cornerback, Frank Minnifield, Dixon helped transform the identity of the Browns and also ushered in the ‘Dawg Pound’. Dixon was a three-time pro bowler, two-time All-Pro, and his contribution to this franchise cannot be understated.

Later in the seventh round, the Browns picked up linebacker Eddie Johnson. The hard-hitting left inside linebacker would go on to man the middle of the Browns defense from 1984 through 1988. Johnson brought a grittiness that embodied the Marty Schottenheimer-led squad.

Fun fact about the Browns 1981 draft, they snagged a two-time All-American out of Florida State in the sixth round: Ron Simmons. Although Simmons did not make the team, he would go on to have a stellar professional wrestling career that included winning the WCW World Heavyweight title and was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.

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