2015 – RB Duke Johnson (Round 3: Pick 12, 77th overall)
The Cleveland Browns took Danny Shelton in the first round, which in hindsight was a bad move. With offensive tackle Andrus Peat and cornerback Marcus Peters both on the board, they would’ve been much better additions to the club. That said, 2015 has been a largely dismal draft class overall. A lot of one-and-done Pro Bowl talents litter the draft, with Jameis Winston at the top of the heap.
The Browns took 12 players in the draft. You read that right. Only four are still in the NFL, none with the Browns. Beyond Shelton and Duke Johnson, the Browns took center Cameron Erving, defensive end Nate Orchard, defensive tackle Xavier Cooper, safety Ibraheim Campbell, wide receiver Vince Mayle, cornerback Charles Gaines, tight end’s Malcolm Johnson, and Randall Telfer, linebacker Hayes Pullard and cornerback Ifo Ekpe-Olomu.
Johnson is by far the best player from the Browns draft of 2015. Johnson has averaged 855 yards per season as a multi-use back. His ability to run the ball is on the scale of an elite back with three of his five years in the NFL averaging just about 5.0 yards a carry. That type of ability, with his ability to catch the ball, makes him extremely useful. A player from the Brian Westbrook days of football. With the exception of the 2019 season, Johnson has more receiving yards than rushing per season. With 2019 seeing him compile 410 yards both carrying and receiving the ball.
Unfortunately, Johnson was deemed expendable by the Browns after the team made a controversial decision to bring in perpetually in trouble running back Kareem Hunt. The addition of Hunt really didn’t make much of a dent with the Browns and only served to soil the relationship between a multi-purpose back who didn’t need to run the ball to gain yards and a team who needed all the help they could get.