Cleveland Browns: 5 worst NFL Drafts since 1999 ranked

Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

1. 2014

The Browns found a cornerstone left guard in the 2014 draft in the form of Joel Bitonio, but it doesn’t change the fact that this was one of the worst drafts in the franchise’s history.

Armed with two first-round picks, general manager Ray Farmer was on a quest to finally alter the fortunes of the franchise.

Everyone knew the Browns needed a quarterback and everyone speculated as to whether or not the the team would make Johnny Manziel its first pick.

The team had the fourth pick, but then traded down to nine to add Buffalo’s 2015 first rounder. Not done with dealing, Ray Farmer traded back up one spot and did the prudent thing: Rather than reach on Manziel, the novice general manager took Oklahoma State corner Justin Gilbert, instead of the bigger named Heisman winner.

Unfortunately, later reporting indicated the Browns basically did no homework on Gilbert, and didn’t even bring him into Berea for an interview.

Gilbert’s not only one of the Browns’ biggest draft busts of all time, but he may very well be a top-10 all-time NFL bust.

Manziel found his way to Cleveland, as the 22nd pick. I was there for Manziel’s first start, a horrific showing at home against the Bengals. He may be the worst pro football player I’ve ever seen in person.

Besides Bitonio, the Browns also added Christian Kirksey in the third round, who was a good player when healthy. He was haunted by injuries in his final two seasons and left via free agency after the 2019 campaign.