K Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson is a legend to the Cleveland Browns faithful, and for good reason. During the stretch of time from 1999 to 2012, he was the most consistent player the team had and was a two-time All-Pro caliber kicker for the team. The Browns were lucky to land a franchise legend like Dawson, who went undrafted in the 1998 NFL Draft.
He wound up with the Oakland Raiders, who were two years away from drafting Sebastian Janikowski, but never made it off their practice squad. He’d then head to the New England Patriots, where he’d remain on the practice squad watching Adam Vinatieri kick bombs all day.
In 1999, the Browns would make Dawson their first franchise kicker of the new era and would watch him make monumental and momentous kicks week after week. The Browns would have one of the best special teams during Dawson’s era, with punter Chris Gardocki going unblocked with the Browns, and return man Joshua Cribbs becoming a franchise legend during the same time.
Dawson clearly wasn’t responsible for their success, but their performances alongside his really go to show you just how good and important special teams can truly be for a team.