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The Best and Worst drafts since 1966

The Gipper

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For this data, I just went back to the year that the common draft began to try to determine which were perhaps the Best and Worst Drafts of recent memory. Here is what I came up with:


Best Draft Candidates:


1983 looks like it really takes the cake: 7 Hall of Famers drafted that year: Elway/Marino/Kelly QBs

Dickerson RB, Bruce Matthews OG, Darrell Green CB, Richard Dent DE. Plus a few more HOF finalists: Roger Craig, Karl Mecklenburg


1967 actually had more HOF players drafted: 8 Floyd Little, Bob Griese, Alan Page, Gene Upshaw, Lem Barney, Ken Houston, Willie Lanier and Rayfield Wright. Also Bubba Smith, not HOF, but very good


1969 also very good: 5 HOFers: OJ Simpson, Joe Greene, Charlie Joiner, Roger Wherli, Ted Hendrix


1981 Outstanding: Lawrence Taylor, Ronnie Lott, Mike Singletary, Ricky Jackson, Howie Long, Russ Grimm (other good players like James Brooks, Freeman McNeil)


1988 HOFers Randall McDaniel, Thurman Thomas, Michael Irvin, Tim Brown, Dermonti Dawson, also plus players like Eric Allen, Neil Smith, Michael Dean Perry


1998 also Good: Peyton, Charles Woodson, Alan Faneca, Randy Moss all almost certain future HOF.


2004 You have the 3 QBs who could be HOF: BR/Eli/Rivers. Plus you have Jared Allen and Larry Fitzgerald, and maybe even Vince Wilfork as a NT.


2007 Most of the best of this class are still playing...and you may have as many as 6 HOF: Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Darrelle Revis, Marshawn Lynch, and Patrick Willis (only one retired)


Now for the Bad Draft Candidates:


1966 first year of the common draft didn't produce so many great players. Only Tom Mack made the HOF from that year. Some other good players, but none that would be given HOF consideration, like Emerson Boozer, Jack Gregory, Tommy Nobis, Mike Garrett


1984 Immediately after perhaps the best draft in history, we have likely the worst draft in history: No player has made the HOF from that class. Considered the best two players from that draft were QB Boomer Esiason and LB Wilbur Marshall. And actually, the third best player from that draft per the PFA Career Production Avg: 10th round pick Ernest Byner.


1992 This year rivals 1984 for producing a dearth of top notch talent. The best players were Jimmy Smith, the Jags WR, Levon Kirkland, and Troy Vincent.


I left the jury out on drafts since 2007...as I think it is bit early to judge the totality of those. Most players drafted those years are still active. There are a number of early HOF candidates for each of those seasons. I don't know that any of these would be as bad as 1984 or 1992....but you never know.

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Here are perhaps the Best and Worst Browns Drafts since 1966:


Best Draft Candidates:


1978 The year they drafted both Ozzie Newsome HOF and Clay Matthews in the first round.. Seven Pro Bowl appearances.


1966 Drafted 4 players that made the Pro Bowl: Milt Morin, Fred Hoaglin, Pete Lammons and Jack Gregory. In no other year did the Browns draft more than 2 Pro Bowlers


Other years where they drafted a couple of fairly productive players:

1971 Doug Dieken, Clarence Scott

1972 Thom Darden, Brian Sipe

1982 Chip Banks, Mike Baab

1990 Rob Burnett/Anthony Pleasant/Leroy Hoard (

1991 Eric Turner/James Jones

2006 Kameron Wimbley/DQwell Jackson

2010 Haden and Ward


In a few other years the Browns may have drafted one good player.....like the Joe Thomas or Michael Dean Perry years....but nothing in terms of multiple players performing all that well.


The Bad:


1995 This should have been an omen for "the move". Probably the worst draft in Browns history. Craig Powell, Eric Zeier and Mike Frederick taken in the first 3 rounds. None ever became a starting NFL player. The 3 people they took after round 3 never saw a snap in the NFL. (wasn't this a Mike Lombardi draft?)


1992/1993. Again, more Lombardi/Belichick drafting? Steve Everett was the best player taken these years.. Tommy Vardell in round one. I am sorry, but BB was a suckass GM for this team.


1985 Greg Allen, Mark Krerowiscz. Reggie Langhorne best player taken.


1968 Marvin Upshaw and John Garlington were the best players taken...and they both had below mediocre careers ( a lot elsewhere)


1974 While the Steelers were drafting 4 future Hall of Famers, the Browns were drafting Billy Corbett, Mike Ilgenfritz, Billy Pritchett and Gerry Sullivan. Who? Right. They did take a guy in the 8th round named Eddie Brown....who made the Pro Bowl a couple of years as a punt returner....for the Washington Redskins after the Browns cut him


1999-2002. You can throw all these years in together. The best players career production wise were Jeff Faine and Gerard Warren...but they both did a lot of their playing elsewhere. But...in 2003 the Browns finally drafted a player that would go on to make the Pro Bowl....long snapper Ryan Pontbriand.


Now...should you ask about the era since then... Well, every year since 2003 the Browns have drafted a player that made at least 1 Pro Bowl, except 2008...which I will mention hereafter:

2003 Pontbriand

2004 K2

2005 Braylon

2006 DQ Jackson

2007 Joe Thomas

2009 Mack

2010 Haden/Ward

2011 Cam Jordan


In 2008...the Browns did not have a pick until the 4th round. But it can't be considered among the truly worse Browns draft years as they did get Ahtyba Rubin who was very good for the Browns for a long time.....and imo he should never have been allowed to leave.


That brings us to 2012....it could go down as one of the worst 3 years in Browns draft history. Two complete bust in the first round. Mitchell Schwartz is the best player..and he is gone as well...as is Travis Benjamin And unless John Hughes plays well in the future, no other player looks like they will have much of a career with the Browns anyway.

2013 may be no better. Barkevious Mingo and Armonty Bryant are all that's left....and neither has done much to this point.

2014. Saving grace: Bitonio....will likely be a Pro Bowler. And Christian Kirksey....maybe.


But honestly....as bad as the drafting has been.....it really was no worse than the Belichick drafts of 1995 and 92/93.

So to me these rank in order:







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Can't agree. We had Alex Mack for some time. Three time Pro Bowler. In some of the other years....we had not one single solitary decent player come out of those drafts.

I was speaking in general, not the Browns draft in particular. 2009 is known as one of the worst drafts talent wise all the way around.
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I was speaking in general, not the Browns draft in particular. 2009 is known as one of the worst drafts talent wise all the way around.

OK, sorry. You could be right. Right now the best players taken that year are Clay Matthews III, Matt Stafford and LeSean McCoy.

I still think 1984 and 1992 will grade out worst.

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These guys are too myopic to do this properly....(by all rights I should have gone back to 1936). But here is NFL.com on the last 25 years:




And here they are on the Worst classes of last 25 years. They agree with me on 1992




The 1992 draft produced no MVP winners, no Offensive or Defensive Players of the Year, and, of course, no members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is the draft in which the Green Bay Packers happily sent a first-round selection to theAtlanta Falcons in exchange for their third-string quarterback.

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So? The question is: Is 2016 going to look more like 1983....or 1984?


I guess if one of these QBs this year comes out as good as Boomer Esiason, that would be a fair deal. But, if in Goff/Wentz/Lynch we have the second coming of Elway/Marino/Kelly....goodness gracious.

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