The Cleveland Browns did something during the 2011 NFL draft that only the Cleveland Browns would do. It was an embarrassing mistake, but it had nothing to do with them taking defensive tackle Phil Taylor with their first-round pick. It happened during the fourth round and luckily for them, it wasn’t in front of the television cameras.
The struggles of the Cleveland Browns
Overall, the NFL draft hasn’t been overly kind to the Cleveland Browns in the last 20 years or so. That has translated onto the field as well as the Browns have managed to put together one winning season since 2003. The last time the Browns made the playoffs was in 2002 when they finished the regular season with a 9-7 mark.
The Browns have been the laughingstock of the NFL lately. In 2016, the team went 1-15 and then followed that up with a 0-16 season in 2017. The Browns have never finished higher than third place in their division since 2007 when they had that one winning season, finishing 10-6.
The drafting of quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018 was supposed to be a turning point for the Browns. In a way, it was. Mayfield helped the Browns compile seven wins in 2018 after their winless season in 2017, but the Browns took a step backward last season, finishing 6-10.
The Cleveland Browns’ recent draft busts
From Tim Couch to Trent Alexander to Phil Taylor, the Browns have definitely struggled with their first-round selections. Probably their most recent famous bust was quarterback Johnny Manziel who was the Browns’ second first-round selection in 2014. Manziel was a Heisman Trophy winner out of Texas A&M and was taken with the No. 22 pick.
Manziel lasted just two seasons, playing in a total of 14 games. He was ineffective and had some off-the-field troubles that helped put a quick end to his NFL career. Lost in the whole deal was the player the Browns selected with the eighth overall pick that season. Cleveland took defensive back Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State and he wasn’t a whole lot more effective than Manziel. He outlasted Johnny Football by one year.
Cleveland’s 2008 draft was a complete disaster. The Browns didn’t have any picks in the top three rounds. Former GM Phil Savage had traded away those picks in order to secure quarterback Brady Quinn with a first-round pick in 2007. He also had traded some picks for defensive linemen Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams. Rogers had one good season with the Browns.
Cleveland’s embarrassing moment in 2011
You can’t make this stuff up. When the Cleveland Browns entered the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft, the plan was to pick tight end Jordan Cameron out of USC. The Browns did select Cameron with the 102nd overall pick in the draft. The embarrassing part came just before the selection when they called Cameron Jordan to let him know he was about to be taken.
Cameron Jordan is a defensive end out of Cal who was also in the draft. The New Orleans Saints, however, had already scooped him up in the first round at No. 24. Jordan was surprised when he received the phone call from the Browns. He told the story on the Dan Patrick Show.
“The Browns called me while I was chilling with my d-line coach, Bill Johnson,” Jordan told Patrick. “We were driving from the airport. And I got a call from the Browns. They were like, ‘Hey, we’re about to select you.’ I was like ‘I mean, I’m good, actually. I think I’ve already been selected. But if you wanna send that check, I’ll take that.'”
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.