Cleveland Browns top QB all-time No. 7: Milt Plum, 1957-1961
Back in the late 1950s, the Browns used the No. 17 overall pick — which was a Round 2 selection at the time — on Milt Plum from Penn State. While playing for the Nittany Lions, Plum not only played under center, but was also a defensive back, punter, and placekicker.
In the NFL, he stayed at quarterback and was considered one of the most accurate passers of the time. As a rookie, he shared time with Tommy O’Connell after Plum showed his talent when playing in place of an injured O’Connell against the Eagles.
He still threw just 76 passes on the year and had 590 yards with two touchdowns and five picks. But then in year two, he became the full-time starter and had 1,619 yards with 11 touchdowns. He continued to grow as a passer and had his best NFL campaign in 1960 when he threw for 2,297 yards with 21 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
Plum spent five seasons with the Browns and was able to lead them to a 33-16-2 record while throwing for 8,914 yards with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 66-to-39.
Before 1962, Plum was traded to the Detroit Lions and Cleveland turned the ball over to Jim Ninowski, but when he was injured, it was Frank Ryan that took over — and he also had an impressive career. Plum continued to play well for the Lions but it wasn’t the same for him since he didn’t have the help of the dominant running game he was able to lean on with the Browns.