Ranking the biggest draft steals in modern Cleveland Browns history

Who have the Browns stolen in the draft since returning to the NFL?
Cleveland Browns, Andra Davis
Cleveland Browns, Andra Davis / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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With the 2024 NFL Draft approaching, it feels like a good time to revisit some great moments from the Cleveland Browns draft history. The Browns have had some excellent picks throughout the years although their misses have gotten more attention since they returned to the league in 1999.

Here, we’ll focus on the positive additions they've made since then with the top five draft steals during their modern history. To be clear, a steal isn't always a late pick but rather someone who far exceeded their draft slot.

5. Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin (2016)

No. 5 was hard as it came down to Joe Schobert vs. Joel Bitonio. While the big guard was the better draft pick and had more longevity, the tiebreaker goes to Schobert since he was a much later selection.

Bitonio was the 35th pick in the draft out of Nevada in 2012 compared to the 99th pick for Schobert in 2016. The Wisconsin product worked in spot duty as a rookie but then exploded in year two with 144 tackles. 

That number tied him with Blake Martinez of the Green Bay Packers and Preston Brown of the Buffalo Bills for the NFL lead. It also resulted in Schobert making the Pro Bowl.

He wound up leaving in free agency ahead of the 2024 season but made his mark as one of the more likable players on the team. You could still argue that Bitonio belongs ahead of Schobert. You might even throw Martin Emerson into the mix and it would be hard to knock that opinion. But again, the draft positioning gives a slight edge to Schobert over Bitonio while Emerson will fight his way into the mix with another solid season.