2014 – OL Joel Bitonio(Round 2: Pick 3, 35th overall)
On yay, it’s the Gilbert/Manziel draft. This was the year where the team had two picks in the first round. With Manziel essentially being the pick the Browns got back in exchange for Trent Richardson. There’s a long convoluted path to there, but that’s essentially what it was.
Joel Bitonio, on the other hand, came in during the second round and was an instant success story for the Browns. For as bad as cornerback Justin Gilbert was, and as disappointing as quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to be, Bitonio has been every bit as good. On his current trajectory, Bitonio could easily end up being a Hall of Famer if he stays healthy.
For the most part, many of the other picks didn’t pan out either. Running back Terrance West showed flashes but the tandem of he and Isaiah Crowell never became the Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack of the modern Browns.
Pierre Desir, a cornerback from nowhere Lindenwood college, is a trivia question answer at best. Yet, the Browns didn’t wif on another draft completely, besides Bitonio, there was a heck of a player in this class the Browns got.
Honorable Mention: Christian Kirksey
Christian Kirksey went 71st overall in the third round, and during his time with the Browns was a tackling machine. You know, when healthy. Kirksey showed the Browns fans that you can, in fact, find talent outside of the first round. Which is a novel concept for the Browns still, because they’re still having trouble with first-round talent.