Cleveland Browns Redraft:2001

Cleveland Browns Redraft:2001

Chris / June 11, 2008

After redoing the 1999 and 2000 drafts for the Cleveland Browns, this team would have most of the key pieces to being a powerhouse for the next several years. Let’s look at what I did over the last two years. Actual number of Pro Bowl selections is represented in parentheses. All players shown were draft picks except those in italics, which were potential free agent signings (or trades in the case of Ahman Green and Tony Richardson) in 1999:

Position Player Position Player
QB Kerry Collins (1), Jeff Garcia (4), Jake Delhomme (1), Tom Brady (4) DT Kelly Gregg, Rob Meier
FB Tony Richardson, Dan Kreider DE Jevon Kearse (3), Aaron Smith (1), Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (1), Adewale Ogunleye (1)
RB Ahman Green, Reuben Droughns ILB Eric Barton, Brian Urlacher (6)
WR Marty Booker (1), Sean Morey (1), Donald Driver (3), Laveranues Coles (1), Dante Hall (2) OLB Jamir Miller (1), Joey Porter (4), Adalius Thomas (1)
TE Desmond Clark (1), Jermaine Wiggins CB Corey Fuller, Mike McKenzie
C Jeff Saturday (3), Todd McClure SS Mike Green
OG Adam Timmerman (1), Randy Thomas, Jamar Nesbit, Brian Walters (3) FS Mike Brown (1)
OT Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels (5) P Chris Gardocki (1)
LS Mike Schneck (1) K Phil Dawson

In two years, the only area that I’m not settled in is tight end, and depth at running back, offensive and defensive tackles, and the secondary. Due to the New Orleans and St. Louis Rams trades back in 1999, I pick up two additional first round picks. So, here’s the draft picks I have to work with in 2001 (actual Browns selections shown):

Round Number Player
1 3 DT Gerard Warren
1 20 (from St. Louis)
1 23 (from New Orleans)
2 33 WR Quincy Morgan
3 65 RB James Jackson
4 97 CB Anthony Henry
5 134 LB Jeremiah Pharms
6 165 CB Michael Jameson
7 203 G Paul Zukaukas
7 245 WR Andre King

Overall, this was a pretty disappointing draft for the Browns. Outside of Pharms, every player stayed in the league at least four years, but Henry is the only one that’s developed into a quality player. Warren is considered one of the biggest busts of the decade, never living up to his first round potential. But what was new with any of Cleveland’s draft picks during this regime. With three picks in the first 33 of the draft (and hindsight in my corner), I’m sure I can do better. Here are my 2001 draft selections:

2001 Redraft

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 3 none RB LaDainian Tomlinson

The fifth overall pick, Tomlinson has missed only one game during his seven-year career. He’s averaging 1,521 yards rushing, 482 yards receiving, and 16 TDs. He’s made the Pro Bowl every year except his rookie year, when he rushed for “only” 1,236 yards and 10 TDs. In 2003, he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and record 100 receptions in the same season. For the record, I was begging Cleveland to draft him, and pissed when they took Warren.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 20 none CB Nate Clements

This pick would be a major coup for the Browns, with Clements having grown up in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights and played collegiately at The Ohio State University. Clements was an immediate star in the NFL, starting 11 games his rookie year. He recorded at least 62 tackles every year, and was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2004 season.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 23 none DT Kris Jenkins

A second round pick by the Panthers, Jenkins would fill the need for a stud defensive tackle on a team loaded with talented ends. Outside his two injury-plagued seasons of 2004 and 2005, Jenkins has been the anchor of the Panthers defense. When healthy, he averages over 40 tackles and 4 sacks a season. His best single season in sacks was 2002 with seven. He’s made the Pro Bowl three times (2002, 2003, 2006).

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 33 none OT Matt Light

A second round pick by the Patriots, Light would give me another stud tackle to go along an already-talented offensive line. He’s made the Pro Bowl twice (2006, 2007).

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 65 none WR Steve Smith

Another great pick by Carolina, this time in the third round, Smith made a mark his rookie year as a dangerous kick returner. He led all rookies in net yardage with a 1,994 yard, and finished fourth in the NFL in that category in 2001. This performance earned him a Pro Bowl berth as a kick returner. The next year, he became a starting wide receiver, making 54 receptions for 872 yards. In 2005, Smith lead the league in receptions (103), yards (1563), and TDs (12). With the exception of 2004, where he was out all but one game with an injury, Smith has averaged 90 receptions, 1,210 yards, and 9 TDs the last four years despite being the only deep threat on the Panthers. In addition to going his rookie year as a returner, Smith returned to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 97 none G/T Floyd Womack

Nicknamed “Pork Chop,” Floyd Womack was drafted late in the fourth round by the Seahawks, and has played in 75 games over the last seven years, starting 33 of them. He can play both guard and tackle. He too would have been the local pick of this draft, having played high school football at Cleveland East.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 134 none CB Nick Harper

Nick Harper went undrafted, but signed with the Colts. His best year was in 2003, his first as a starter, with 98 tackles and four interceptions. He’s recorded at least 66 tackles and three INTs every year since. He joined the Tennessee Titans as a free agent in 2007.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
6 165 none WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Slipping to the seventh round, Housmandzadeh played sparingly during his first three years with the Bengals. He broke out in 2004 with 73 catches for 978 yards and four TDs. During the last four seasons, he’s averaged 88 receptions, 1,040 yards and eight TDs a season. Housmandzadeh made the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2007 with 112 catches for 1,143 yards and 12 TDs.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 203 none RB Dominic Rhodes

Rhodes signed with the Colts after going undrafted in 2001. He played in 15 games his rookie year, starting 10 in place of the injured Edgerrin James. That year, Rhodes rushed for 1,104 yards and nine TDs. He was out for all of 2002, and touched the ball sparringly the next three years behind James. After James left via free agency, Rhodes split time with rookie Joseph Addia, rushing for 641 yards and five TDs. He left as a free agent the following year for Oakland, but at out the first four games due to violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy, and never did much on the field once he returned. He was then released, and resigned with the Colts for 2008.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 245 none MLB Antonio Pierce

Undrafted, Pierce signed with Washngton and had a decent rookie year (52 tackles). He didn’t see the field much the next two years, but broke out in 2004 replacing the injured Michael Barrow. He recorded 112 tackles (85 solo) and two interceptions. He then signed with the Giants, recording 99 tackles in only 13 games, and 137 the following year (107 solo). His 2006 season earned him a Pro Bowl berth. In 2007, he recorded 103 tackles (77 solo).

2001 Redraft Summary

The original 2001 draft breaks down like this over eight picks:

  • one defensive tackle (1)
  • two wide receivers (3)
  • one running back (4)
  • two cornerbacks (6)
  • one linebacker (7)
  • one offensive lineman (8)

Now let’s compare it to the redraft (two extra picks this year):

  • two running backs (2)
  • one defensive tackle (3)
  • two wide receivers (5)
  • two offensive lineman (7)
  • two cornerbacks (9)
  • one linebacker (10)

Just about the same picks, with an extra running back. In fact, if you omit the extra picks from the Saints and Rams, the first three picks in both drafts addressed the exact same positions, just in a different orders. The new draft picked up four multi-time Pro Bowl selections (four of the first five picks I might add), and three other Pro Bowl selections. Plus, every player is still in the league, and only two aren’t starting for their current teams. The redraft is definitely a major improvement over what the Browns actually selected that year.

Review of the Three Redrafts

Here’s where it gets painful to look. Here’s what the Browns would have with three years of draft picks (free agents omitted):

Position Player Position Player
QB Tom Brady (4) DT Kelly Gregg, Rob Meier, Kris Jenkins (3)
FB Tony Richardson, Dan Kreider DE Jevon Kearse (3), Aaron Smith (1), Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (1), Adewale Ogunleye (1)
RB Reuben Droughns, LaDainian Tomlinson (5), Dominic Rhodes ILB Eric Barton, Brian Urlacher (6), Antonio Pierce (1)
WR Marty Booker (1), Brian Finneran, Donald Driver (3), Laveranues Coles (1), Dante Hall (2), Steve Smith (3), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (1) OLB Joey Porter (4), Adalius Thomas (1)
TE Desmond Clark (1), Jermaine Wiggins CB Mike KcKenzie, Nate Clements (1), Nick Harper
C Todd McClure SS Mike Green
OG Randy Thomas, Jamar Nesbit, Brian Walters (3), Floyd Womack FS Mike Brown (1)
OT Jon Jansen, Chris Samuels (5), Matt Light (2) LS Mike Schneck (1)

Assuming these guys would play at the level that they currently do, the new Cleveland Browns would likely be the elite team in the league and be in a position to win multiple Super Bowls. Compare this to their actual picks, which produced one decent starter in Anthony Henry. It’s no surprise the Browns struggled like they did out of the gate, and just now showing signs of being a playoff contender. It’s worth noting that this was the last draft run by Dwight Clark before he was forced to resign. Looking back, he had absolutely no eye for talent. Next I’ll look at the 2002 draft and see if Butch Davis did any better.

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1 Comment

    • Chris April 27, 2010 at 8:03 am Reply

      […] comparing it to my original 2001 redraft, a lot of the same player show up (Jenkins, Burgess, Smith, Womack, Houshmandzadeh, Pierce, etc.). […]

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