Superstar Player the Cleveland Browns Could Have Drafted in 2001
In every draft, there have been elite, superstar players taken shortly after a guy who went on to be not as good. That was the case in 2001 when the Browns had the third-overall pick after a 3-13 2000 campaign. Cleveland drafted defensive tackle Gerard Warren out of Florida. Two picks later, the then-San Diego Chargers, drafted running back LaDainian Tomlinson, also known as LT.
Talk about a major swing and miss from the Browns in 2001. Warren had a serviceable 11-year NFL career, but serviceable comes nowhere even remotely close to the 11-year Hall of Fame career of Tomlinson.
LT was one of the most electrifying playmakers of my generation and it was a pleasure watching him play and also using him on video games and on fantasy football teams. He was the NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 after a historic season. He rushed for 1,815 yards on 348 carries and 28 touchdowns. He also caught 56 passes for 508 yards and three scores. He was the NFL scoring leader that year as well.
Tomlinson was a three-time First-Team All-Pro and three-time Second-Team All-Pro selection, a five-time Pro Bowler, a three-time rushing touchdown leader, and a two-time NFL rushing leader. He was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Again, Warren didn’t have a bad NFL career. He spent his first four years with the Browns, then went to Denver for two seasons, Oakland for three seasons, before finishing the final two years of his career in New England. He totaled 36.5 sacks (16.5 with Cleveland), 329 tackles, 61 tackles for a loss, and 29 quarterback hits. But, he was no LaDainian Tomlinson.