4. Joe Thomas, LT
The Browns weren’t great at drafting anyone from 1999 and beyond, but then GM Phil Savage did get it right when he made Joe Thomas the third overall pick in the 2007 draft.
The draft had Browns fans dreaming of the Super Bowl after the team traded back into the first round to select Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn.
With the selection of a “can’t miss” left tackle, in addition to a franchise quarterback, many believed Savage when he said the future of the franchise had forever changed on this day.
Well, he wasn’t right about the Browns’ future. Coaching and front office turnover lead to more losing, and it wasn’t long before Quinn was out of the league.
Thomas, however, is being regarded as one of the best left tackles in NFL history.
He established himself as the NFL’s Iron Man after playing 10,363 consecutive snaps. He was a 10-time Pro Bowler and was named first-team, all-pro seven different times.
Few players ever live up to the hype drafted that early, but Thomas did. Savage made the pick, and the Browns got to forget about the left tackle position for the next 11 years.
Unfortunately, Thomas only enjoyed one winning season with the Browns, and it came during his rookie year in 2007, when the Derek Anderson led Browns went 10-6. That team missed the playoffs though, and Thomas never played in a postseason game.