Cleveland Browns: 10 biggest ‘what ifs?’ in the NFL Draft since 1999
3. What if the Cleveland Browns drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004?
The 2004 quarterback draft class is legendary due to Eli Manning (first overall pick), Philip Rivers (fourth overall pick), and Ben Roethlisberger (11th overall pick).
With the first two quarterbacks off the board when the Browns were on the clock at six, Cleveland decided to draft tight end Kellen Winslow II. Nothing wrong with this pick, but five picks later and the fate of the Cleveland/Pittsburgh rivalry would drastically change.
Had the Browns decided to take the Findlay, Ohio native, they wouldn’t have had to face him twice a year, which could have provided more wins. However, Big Ben has essentially owned the Browns going 24-2-1 against them. Roethlisberger is 0-1 in the playoffs against Cleveland, though.
The tides in the rivalry are slowly turning in favor of the Browns as the two teams are heading in opposite directions with Cleveland being a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2021.
Regardless of what happened last season, or what will happen this upcoming season, or what could happen in the future, Big Ben has been the guy that has hurt the Browns the most for not drafting him. Cleveland hasn’t even been the little brother in this rivalry over the past two decades, but instead that cousin that you see twice a year and fight.
Roethlisberger was the bully older cousin, but maybe, just maybe, his time to torment the Browns is finally over.