Cleveland Browns: Ranking the 20 best former players since 1999

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Cleveland Browns Tim Couch (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

20) QB Tim Couch

Passing Yards: 11,131 yards
Passing TD’s: 64
Interceptions: 67
Completion Percentage: 59.8%
1999 No. 1 Overall Pick
– Some call Tim Couch a bust, but that’s not fair. Before Joe Thomas and Eric Steinbach, the two best offensive linemen the Browns had were Dave Wohlabaugh and Jim Pyne. That’s the two best Couch had to play with for the first two years. Not to mention his best receiver was Kevin Johnson; who at best was the second-best wideout on any other bad team. I think Couch is simply a disappointment, and being the first overall pick in not just the 1999 NFL Draft but also the Browns first pick in years doesn’t help. If you look at his run in 2001 and 2002 under Butch Davis he was very productive and even lead the team to several comeback wins. Not to mention Couch lead the team to the only playoff appearance since the team came back in 1999 (as of this post). He and David Carr are often seen as examples of what happens to talented players when they lead the league in getting hit. Poor play by the offensive line caused more injuries and forced Couch to retire.

 

19) C/G Shaun O’Hara

Started 38 games at guard and center.
– Shaun O’Hara went undrafted by the Browns in 2000 but he quickly became their best lineman of the year. He’d go on to be a three-time pro bowler and a SuperBowl champion with the New York Giants, proving to be another example of the inept management in Cleveland. During his time with The Browns, he showed his versatility playing left guard and center at times, often filling in for an injured Wohlabaugh. Arguably the teams 4th best offensive lineman for the modern-day Browns organization.

 

18) QB Derek Anderson

Passing Yards: 7,083 yards
Passing TD’s: 46
Interceptions: 45
Completion Percentage: 51.9
Pro Bowler (1x) – 2007
– It’s nucking futs to see Anderson this high, right? The former Oregon State Beaver and classmate of 2007 Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood, was a 2005 sixth-round pick and much like Couch, his singe season performance can’t be overlooked. He won ten games in his first season as a starter, went to the Pro Bowl (only Browns QB to do that since 1999), and threw the second-most TD’s in a season for the Browns with 29 (Brian Sipe had 30 in 1980).  Unfortunately, like Couch, bad management and a bad head coach cost him success in the following seasons.

 

17) RB Peyton Hillis

Rushing: 1,746 yards
Receiving: 610 yards
Total TD’s: 16
Madden 2011 Cover Athlete
– While Hillis will go hand-in-hand with the term “quitter”, his single-season was a thing of beauty. Hillis perfected the ‘leap over a tackler’ move that we see so often today and was leagues most exciting player in 2010, riding that excitement to the cover of Madden.  The 7th round draft pick behind former Arkansas teammates Darren McFadden and Felix Jones had arguably the best single-season of either of them (both teammates were drafted in the first round).  Despite his stunning performance behind a mediocre line and no real help offensively, he tanked his career by holding out for money, allegedly faking injuries and quitting in games. That left fans thinking what could have been?

16) WR Kevin Johnson

Receiving: 3,455 yards
Punting: 245 yards
Total TD’s: 24 (one passing)
– Kevin Johnson was the 2nd pick in Browns’ new history, following Couch. He was the first in a run on 2nd round receivers that management would draft through 2003 (Johnson, Northcutt, Quincy Morgan, and Andra Davis).  He was the most reliable pass-catcher for the team and was the first player to top 1,000 yards in a single season since the franchise returned. While he did the best he could, he couldn’t impress former coach Butch Davis when he was shockingly cut mid-season in 2003. He still had something left, as he was claimed by 16 teams before Jacksonville claimed him. Unfortunately, injuries caught up to him and he was out of the NFL two years later.

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