2. Bernie Kosar, QB
The story of how the Browns landed Bernie Kosar serves as a reminder that this franchise was once one of the savviest in all of sports.
With Kosar set to graduate early, there was uncertainty about when he would declare for the NFL Draft.
He was a hot prospect, having led Miami to the National Championship, and the Minnesota Vikings traded two draft picks to move up to the No. 2 spot with the hope Kosar would declare. Bruce Smith had already signed with the Bills as the No. 1 pick, so if Kosar declared, the Vikings would have taken him.
But Bernie didn’t declare, and the Browns went to work.
They traded their first-round selection, as well as some addition later-round picks in 1985 and 1986 to come away with Buffalo’s first pick in 1986. This assured Cleveland they would pick first in the supplemental draft, of which Kosar was eligible.
The Northeast Ohio native united with his hometown team at the first pick of the 1985 supplemental draft and the rest is history, as a generation of Browns associate No. 19 with the Browns winning ways of the 1980s.
Kosar may not be a Hall of Famer as injuries slowed his career, but he was a great player, leading the Browns to three AFC Championship games, while earning one Pro Bowl nod.
Bernie may not be the greatest player on this list, but his selection shines a light on when the Browns outsmarted the rest of the league to ensure they got their quarterback of the future.