2003 – LS Ryan Pontbriand (Round 5: Pick 7, 142nd overall)
Ryan Pontbriand isn’t the first long-snapper the Cleveland Browns ever took in the NFL Draft, and probably won’t be the last. He was, however, the highest going in the fifth round. The Browns took sixth-round long-snapper James Dearth in 1999, at 191 overall.
This will be a controversial pick, with Jeff Faine a member of this draft class. Unlike in other years, Faine was actually a good starter. He was never a Pro Bowl talent but he was always reliable. So why does a special teams player get it over Faine? Well, because this is about the best player drafted. Each player taken plays a specific position. The whole point of the NFL draft is to get the best possible players at a given position.
During Pontbriand’s career, there were few (if any) long-snappers better then him in the league. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection and was money throughout his entire run with the Browns.
Faine was good at his position. Pontbriand was great.
The rest of the 2003 Browns draft is pretty bad, however. Butch Davis was terrible at this part of his job. Second-round pick Chaun Thompson was from a Division 2 school, Chris Crocker and Michael Lehan were defensive backs that failed to really make an impact; at least a positive one. Lee Suggs was alright as a multi-down back, but nothing special.
So when you think about it, the Browns 2003 NFL Draft Class was bad but better than it should’ve been considering they did get a Pro Bowler out of it.