Cleveland Browns Redraft:2000

As personal therapy for being a Cleveland Browns fan, I’m attempting to sooth the anguish of the first few years of the return of my team to the NFL in 1999. I decided to play fantasy General Manager and go back in tiime to redo the Browns disastrous drafts that were a big part of the cause of the team’s failure to win. Previously, I redid their 1999 draft. Now let’s move on to year two and reexamine the 2000 draft. As stated in the first post, the Browns gain an additional first-round pick this year to complete the Saints draft trade to acquire Ricky Williams. With that, let’s look at what I did in the new 1999 draft (number of Pro Bowl selections in parentheses):

Round Number Player
1 12 DE Jevon Kearse (3)
2 32 T Jon Jansen
2 45 G Randy Thomas
3 62 OLB Joey Porter (4)
3 71 WR Marty Booker (1)
3 78 CB Mike KcKenzie
4 99 DE Aaron Smith (1)
5 139 ILB Eric Barton
5 144 DT Kelly Gregg
6 174 TE Desmond Clark (1)
6 187 WR Donald Driver (3)
6 191 C Todd McClure
7 207 G Jamar Nesbit
7 218 LS Mike Schneck (1)

I built a good solid foundation with that first draft. Eight players taken eventually earned Pro Bowl berths, and three of those got at least three each. We also have the makings of a good group of receivers, offensive and defensive lines, and linebackers. Add in the nine free agents I targeted (LB Jamir Miller, CB Corey Fuller, QB Kerry Collins, QB Jeff Garcia, QB Jake Delhomme, G Adam Timmerman, C Jeff Saturday, K Phil Dawson, P Chris Gardocki), there’s the start of a good team.

I also picked up QB Kurt Warner in the expansion draft from St. Louis. This would have put me in an interesting, and potentially advantagious position in the 1999 preseason. It’s well known that Warner was the designated backup to Trent Green, who had just signed a big free agent contract with the Rams that offseason. Unfortunately, Green went down in the preseason with a serious knee injury that ended his season. This opened the door for Warner to not only lead the Rams to an unexpected Super Bowl victory, but also the Super Bowl and league MVP awards. However, in my scenario, Warner is no longer on the Rams.

Here’s where my Browns can really benefit. With four good quarterbacks on my team, one will lose a job come season-opening weekend. I would offer Warner back to the Rams for their 2000 fourth-round pick with a lot of conditions. If Warner would take the Rams to the playoffs, that becomes a third-rounder; a Super Bowl appearance, thenĀ  second rounder; a Super Bowl win, or league or Super Bowl MVP award, then I get their 2001 first-round pick as well as the 2000 second. Why not the 2000 first-round pick? That would mean the last pick in the first round, which is essentially the first pick in the second round. I would rather move it to the following year, hoping the Rams wouldn’t repeat.

Now let’s look at what picks I have available to me in year two (actual Cleveland picks shown):

Round Number Player
1 1 DE Courtney Brown
1 2 (from New Orleans)
2 32 WR Dennis Northcutt
2 62 (from St. Louis)
3 63 RB Travis Prentice
3 79 WR JaJuan Dawson
4 95 CB Lewis Sanders
4 110 TE Aaron Shea
5 130 DB Anthony Malbrough
5 146 DB Lamar Chapman
6 183 QB Spergon Wynn
6 206 OL Brad Bedell
6 207 OL Manuia Savea
7 209 DL Eric Chandler
7 225 S Rashidi Barnes

That gives me fifteen picks, and the top two picks and three in the top 32. Here’s what I would do with them:

2000 Redraft

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 1 DE Courtney Brown T Chris Samuels

Chris Samuels, originally chosen third overall by the Redskins, became an instant starter. He started every games he’s played in, and missed a total of four games due to injury over the past eight years. He’s also a 5-time Pro Bowl selection (2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007). Which of the two do you think has a better career? It’s also interesting to note that over the last two redrafts, three offensive lineman taken currently start for the Redskins (Jansen, Thomas, and Samuels).

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
1 2 none MLB Brian Urlacher

Urlacher became an instant starter his rookie season, starting 14 of 16 games. Outside of missing seven games in 2004 due to injuries, Urlacher has started every game since he became the primary Middle Linebacker. He was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and selected to the Pro Bowl every year except his injury year in 2004 and 2007 (6 times).

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 32 WR Dennis Northcutt FS Mike Brown

Mike Brown began the 2000 season as the Bear’s starting Free Safety, recorded the second most tackles on the team that year, and finished second (to Brian Urlacher) in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year balotting. He started all but one game until 2004, when he injured his Achilles in the second game of the season. He returned in 2005, but missed the last four games with an injury. He’s missed most of the past two seasons with injures. Brown was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2005.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
2 62 none RB Reuben Droughns

Outside of RB Ahman Green, whom I traded for in 1999, I don’t have a reliable back, having passed over this position in the 1999 draft. His first four years weren’t remarkable, having battled injures with the Lions, who drafted him originally, and then with Denver. He has his breakout year in 2004 with the Broncos, rushing for 1,240 yards and six touchdowns. He then signed with Cleveland in 2005 and recorded his second 1,000+ rushing season with 1,232 yards. After a disappointing 2006, Cleveland released him and he signed with the Giants.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 63 RB Travis Prentice WR Laveranues Coles

Coles became the starting Wide Receiver for the Jets his second year in the league. He started every game from 2001 to 2006, averaging 81 receptions, 1038 yards, and 5 touchdowns. In 2007, he missed more than four games with injuries, and still totalled 55 receptions, 646 yards and 7 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl in 2004

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
3 79 WR JaJuan Dawson DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

Gbaja-Biamila has become known as a pass-rushing machine. His yearly sack totals since 2001 are 13.5, 12, 10, 13.5, 8, 6, 9.5. That’s nearly 10.5 sack a year, and he made the Pro Bowl in 2003 because of it. The last two years he’s become more of a pass-rushing specialist as opposed to an every-down defensive end.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 95 DB Lewis Sanders WR Dante Hall

Hall is known more for being a kick returner than a wide receiver. He made the Pro Bowl in 2002 and 2003 as a special teams player. He also holds the NFL record in 2003 for returing a kickoff or punt for a touchdown four games in a row.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
4 110 TE Aaron Shea OLB Adalius Thomas

For the first four years of his career, Thomas filled the role of backup Libebacker and Special Teams player, making the Pro Bowl in 2003 for Special Teams. 2004 was his break-out year, amassing 72 tackles and eight sacks. For the last four years, he’s averaging nearly 80 tackles and nine sacks a season. He also made the Pro Bowl in 2006 as a linebacker.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 130 DB Anthony Malbrough DT Rob Meier

Meier is a solid defensive tackle, averaging 26.5 tackles and 2.5 sacks a season.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
5 146 DB Lamar Chapman QB Tom Brady

Its hard to believe Brady didn’t get drafted until late in the sixth round. He became the starter after Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury in the second game of 2001, Brady’s second year. Since then, he’s gone to four Pro Bowls, led the Patriots to four Super Bowls (winning three of them), voted Super Bowl MVP twice, and was voted league MVP in 2007. This past season, he broke the record for most TD passes by a quarterback (50), had 4,806 yards passing (third all-time), and a passer rating of 117.2 (second all-time). 31 teams are kicking themselves over this oversight.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
6 183 QB Spergon Wynn TE Jermaine Wiggins

Wiggins went undrafted and played mostly a backup Tight End role with New England, Indianapolis and Carolina for four years. His best statistical year was 2004 with Minnesota, when he made 71 catches for 707 yards and four touchdowns.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
6 206 T Brad Bedell SS Mike Green

“Mr. Irrelevant” in 2000, Green became the Bears starting Strong Safety by 200. until becoming a backup in early 2005. He then went to Seattle, where he’s struggled with injuries.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
6 207 OL Manuia Savea DE Adewale Ogunleye

Ogunleye was undrafted and signed with the Dolphins in 2000, but sat out while recovering from a knee injury suffered during his senior season at Indiana. He became a starter in 2002 and recorded 9.5 sacks. The following year, he led the league with 15 sacks. He was traded to Chicago the following year, and has averaged 7.5 sacks a year as a Bear.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 209 DE Eric Chandler FB Dan Kreider

Kreider signed with Pittsburgh after being undrafted. He became the starting Fullback in 2000, and maintained that role until 2007. Never much of a ball handler, Kreider is known for his bone-crushing blocks.

Round Number Original Pick New Pick
7 225 DB Rashidi Barnes G Brian Walters

Undrafted, Kansas City signed Waters as a free agent in 2000. He became a starter midway through 2001, and has missed two games since then. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

2000 Redraft Summary

With 13 picks, the Browns originally drafted the following positions:

  • two defensive ends (2)
  • two wide receivers (4)
  • one running back (5)
  • four defensive backs (9)
  • one tight end (10)
  • one quarterback (11)
  • two offensive linemen (13)

Of those 13 players, two never made it on a final roster, four more were out of the league within two years, and two others gone within four. That leaves five players that had careers lasting at least six years. Of those five, no one made a significant impact with any team they played on. its safe to say this draft class was a complete bust. That’s two years in a row of wasted picks.

With 15 picks in the redraft (two additional from the 1999 trades with New Orleans and St. Louis), we take:

  • two offensive linemen (2)
  • two linebackers (4)
  • two safeties (6)
  • two wide receivers (8)
  • one defensive tackle (9)
  • two defensive ends (11)
  • one quarterback (12)
  • one tight end (13)
  • one fullback (14)
  • one running back (15)

So I basically matched the positions, and addressed the defensive front seven with the extra picks and picking two less DBs. My 15 picks are all still in the league, although a couple are battling cronic injuries. I also nabbed six multi-time Pro Bowlers, and four others that have made at least one trip to Honolulu. This draft crop was a gold mine of talent late in the draft that year with two undrafted Pro Bowlers and Brady available until pick #199. With these first two new drafts, the Browns would have had the best offensive line and defensive front seven in the NFL, arguably the best QB in the game today, and a solid receiving corp, defensive backfield, and special teams. This team should have begun turning things around by the third season. Next, we look at the 2001 draft.

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