Cleveland Browns Redraft: 1992

Cleveland Browns Redraft: 1992

Chris / August 28, 2008

Recently, I’ve been revisiting the Cleveland Browns draft picks during the last 20 years and, with hindsight as my tool, thinking how I would have done things differently. Most recently, I’m redoing the  Browns drafts in the early 1990s under Bill Belichick. Below is the result of the 1991 redraft:

Round Number Player
2 29 QB Brett Favre
3 57 CB Aeneas Williams
3 62 OLB Mo Lewis
3 70 T Erik Williams
4 85 OLB Bryan Cox
5 112 TE Ben Coates
5 122 FS Merton Hanks
5 127 DE Michael Sinclair
8 197 RB Gary Brown
11 280 WR Keenan McCardell
12 308 FB Kimble Anders

Now let’s move on to year 2 of the Belichick regime, 1992. The season began on a sour note, when the head coach jettisoned longtime Browns receivers Reggie Langhorne and Webster Slaughter that summer, a move not appreciated by the fans. Although the season was respectible (7-9 finish) and the defense improved, the offense was horrible. The line was still sub-standard, Kosar- sacked eleven times in an ugly opening-day loss to the Colts- was oft-injured, the running game was among the league’s worst, and the receiver corps lacked quality depth, even as Slaughter and Langhorne played well for their new teams. Belichick also misused running back Eric Metcalf, regularly trying to run him up the middle, to little avail. The conflict with quarterback Bernie Kosar would also begin to show during this season, as Kosar sat out most of the year with injuries, and the head coach developed an unhealthy fascination with third-stringer Todd Philcox.
Another area that came into question was the Brown’s 1992 draft, and especially the first round pick of Tommy Vardell. Overall, the 1992 draft by the Browns was nothing to write home about:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
3 65 DT Bill Johnson
3 78 LB Gerald Dixon
6 143 WR Rico Smith
6 163 DT George Williams
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
9 233 DB Tim Hill
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia
12 316 QB Keithen McCant
12 329 OL Tim Simpson

Cleveland did some draft-day dealing that year, moving down in the 2nd round and giving up their 5th round pick to the Cowboys in exchange for Dallas’ late 2nd round, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 12th round picks. The Browns also gave up an 8th round pick to the Patriots for OL Freddie Childress, which was a complete bust. As new GM, I wouldn’t make the trade with New England, but go ahead with Dallas. Here’s what our draft board would look like:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
3 65 DT Bill Johnson
3 78 LB Gerald Dixon
6 143 WR Rico Smith
6 163 DT George Williams
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
8 205 ???
9 233 DB Tim Hill
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia
12 316 QB Keithen McCant
12 329 OL Tim Simpson

That gives us 13 picks total. Based on our highly-successful draft of 1991, our areas of need are wide receiver, offensive line, running back, inside/middle linebacker, cornerback, strong safety, and depth along the defensive line. Unfortunately, the 1992 class is nowhere near as deep and the previous, but still had some talent. However, I would like to move up higher to better players. My fantasy deal would be with the Atlanta Falcons, owners of the 8 and 19 picks in the draft. I would ask for the 19th pick in exchange for my 3rd (65), 6th (143), 8th (205), and 9th (233) round picks. I would then trade my 3rd (78), 6th (163) and both 12th (316, 329) draft picks to the Green Bay Packers for their two 5th (119, 130) and 9th (240) round picks. Our revised draft board now looks like this:

Round Number Player
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell
1 19 ???
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe
5 119 ???
5 130 ???
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones
9 240 ???
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia

That gives us nine picks to work with. Here’s what I would do with them:

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 9 FB Tommy Vardell DT Chester McGlockton

McGlockton made four straight Pro Bowls with the Raiders during his ten-year career. During those Pro Bowl years, he averaged eight sacks a season. He would have been the final piece in an all-pro defensive line with Perry, Burnett and Sinclair.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 19 none CB Dale Carter

Dale Carter was spectacular from the beginning, chosen as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. A vital part of the Chiefs’ defense in the 1990s, Carter was elected to four Pro Bowls, and would have given the Browns two of the best shut-down corners in the league with Aeneas Williams.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 52 WR Patrick Rowe WR Robert Brooks

Brooks was a key weapon for Brett Favre during the Packers success during the 1990s. He started off as a talented kick returner, leading the league kickoff returns in 1993 with a 26.6-yard average. In 1995, he set a franchise record with 1,497 receiving yards on 102 receptions, and scored 13 touchdowns. After missing half the 1996 season with a torn ACL, he won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award in 1997, catching 60 passes for 1,010 yards and 7 touchdowns. He would have been the next wave of a solid receiving corps. (I would not have released Slaughter and Langhorne.)

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 119 none ILB Ed McDaniel

McDaniel played ten years with the Minnesota Vikings, anchoring their defense. He made the Pro Bowl in 1998.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 130 none DT Santana Dotson

Dotson won the 1992 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and played ten years for the Bucs and Packers. He averaged five sacks a season, and recorded ten his rookie year. He would have added solid depth behind Perry and McClockton.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 177 DB Sewlyn Jones ILB Corey Widmer

Widmer played eight years with the New York Giants. Along with McDaniel, Cox and Lewis, Widmer would have helped drastically remake an aging linebacker corps in two years.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
9 240 none C Jay Leeuwenburg

Leeuwenburg played nine seasons with five different teams during his career. He was the starting center for both the Bears and Colts before winding up his career with the Bengals and Redskins. He and Erik Williams (drafted in 1991) would have been the start of repairing a pourous offensive line.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
10 260 DT Marcus Lowe CB Mark McMillian

McMillian was a solid cornerback during his eight-year career. He led the league in INT return yards in 1997 with the Chiefs. He would have worked as a nice nickelback and backup corner behind Pro Bowlers Williams and Carter.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
11 289 WR Augustin Olobia G Kendall Gammon

Gammon played 15 years with the Steelers, Saints and Chiefs. He was an everything lineman, playing in multiple positions. He became most adept as long snapper, being named to the Pro Bowl in 2005 as a special teams player.

1992 Redraft Summary

Although not the class of 1991, the 1992 redraft class was still pretty good, especially after making some additional draft pick trades. Out of the needs mentioned earlier that needed to be addressed, we addressed all except Strong Safety and definitely built one of the best defenses in the league (at least on paper). We have revamped cornerbacks and linebackers, and a strong and deep defensive line after two drafts. We helped our receiving corps with Robert Brooks (and not dumping veterans Slaughter and Langhorne), and helped the offensive line with Leeuwenburg and Gammon.

After two drafts, we would have a lot of key pieces in place for a championship-contending team for a long time. Also, if Kosar struggled with the injuries that he did in 1992, Brett Favre would have had his chance to show that he was the quarterback to take them to the Super Bowl. If fact, considering the 1992 Browns flirted with a .500 record despite their lack of talent, this team would have had a great shot at the playoffs.

Next we’ll redo the 1993 draft. We’ll look to strengthen a still average offensive line (despite Erik Williams), find a strong safety, and continue to improve the running backs and receivers.

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