11. Johnny Manziel
As one of the most polarizing quarterbacks the Browns have ever had, you'll see Johnny Manziel all over the place on people's Browns QB rankings. And often it's incredibly low.
But when I'm just looking at how Manziel played when he was on the field, it's not relevant to factor in how much potential anyone believed he had, or how obnoxious he was off the field. Manziel started eight games for the Browns. Would I have liked him to develop into someone who could have started way more? Sure. But let's look at how he played in those starts.
As a rookie, things were admittedly ugly. He got out there for two starts, and they were both losses with a combined score of 47-13. Manziel had just 112 yards passing on 26 attempts, throwing no touchdowns and getting picked off twice. And he did nothing with his legs, notching 16 yards on 7 carries.
His starts in 2015 were really not all that bad though, even showing some serious promise. He went 109-of-188 for 1,279 yards (213 per game) with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, also adding 189 rushing yards on 30 carries.
The Browns were 2-4 in those games. Obviously that's not great, but considering they went 1-9 the rest of the way it's kind of hard to fault Johnny Football for the poor record.
10. Tim Couch
I'm not going to argue with anyone who calls Tim Couch a bust as the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, but I also have a hard time getting too upset with how he performed.
Despite the quick success the Jaguars had had recently, there wasn't much hope for the Browns as an expansion team, and that fully extended to Couch. His situation was a lot like David Carr's with the Texans a few years later. Could Couch have been a star in the right environment? We'll never know.
What we do know is that, for the era and considering the talent around him, he really was not all that bad. Couch throw for 11,131 yards across 62 games in Cleveland, finishing with 64 touchdowns and 67 interceptions.
His 3.9% interception rate certainly hurt (only three quarterbacks with 500-plus attempts had a worse mark over that stretch), but his 75.1 passer rating beat out 15 500-attempt QBs in that time
Couch remained the passing yards leader among post-'99 Browns quarterbacks until he was unseated by another first overall pick in Week 1 of the 2021 season.
9. Derek Anderson
Ranking Derek Anderson is totally an exercise in how much you value a player's peak compared to their whole body of work. For some people, Anderson's 2007 season means he should be top-three on this list, and I honestly respect that.
That was Cleveland's first 10-win season since 1995, and Anderson was a Pro Bowler who' threw for just show of 3,800 yards with 29 touchdowns.
But where was that Derek Anderson for his other three seasons? Despite that amazing 2007 campaign, Anderson finished his Browns career with a 52.9% completion percentage, 46 touchdowns to 45 interceptions and an average of 181 passing yards per game.