Sashi Brown, Ray Farmer, Joe Banner, Mike Lombardi and the late Tom Heckert all talked about leading the Browns out of the wilderness on a road paved with draft picks.
Almost all of their picks are gone.
The latest to exit was Carl Nassib, the second selection of the third round in the 2016 NFL draft.
Heckert, Browns general manager from 2010-12, used to say players taken in that neighborhood (Nassib went 65th overall) needed to become starters. The Browns had five of the first 93 picks in the 2016 draft, and only Emmanuel Ogbah is still on the team.
Heckert also said blown first-round picks could set back a franchise for years. He shares in the guilt on that front.
The only Brown drafted in any neighborhood before 2016 still on the team is Josh Gordon. He was a Round 2 supplemental pick in 2012 who cost Heckert’s successors, Banner and Lombardi, a No. 39 overall pick in the 2013 regular draft.
The two drafts overseen by Sashi Brown (2016-17) included 24 picks. Ten are on the 53-man roster preparing for Pittsburgh, featuring the three first-round picks from 2017, Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku, and including defensive starters Ogbah, Joe Schobert and Larry Ogunjobi. The others are kicker Zane Gonzalez, wideout Rashard Higgins, safety Derrick Kindred and tight end Seth DeValve. Thus, Sashi fans retain a rooting interest.
The remaining draft picks (including eight of the nine who arrived in John Dorsey’s ‘18 draft) must contribute in the opener for the Browns to knock off Pittsburgh. Eleven are projected as starters, including:
Offense: Linemen Joel Bitonio (Farmer) and Austin Corbett (Dorsey), wideout Antonio Callaway (Dorsey), tight end David Njoku (Brown).
Defense: Ends Garrett (Brown) and Ogbah (Brown), tackle Larry Ogunjobi (Brown), linebackers Christian Kirksey (Farmer) and Joe Schobert (Brown), safety Peppers (Brown) and cornerback Denzel Ward (Dorsey).
Draft picks inherited by Dorsey and since jettisoned include Nassib, Danny Shelton (Round 1, 2015), Corey Coleman (Round 1, 2016), Nate Orchard (Round 2, 2015), DeShone Kizer (Round 2, 2017), Shon Coleman (Round 3, 2016), Cody Kessler (Round 3, 2016), Rod Johnson (Round 5, 2017), Randall Telfer (Round 6, 2015) and Caleb Brantley (Round 6, 2017).
EX-BROWNS QB EXPLOSION
Weekend roster solidifications left many teams with ex-Browns as backup quarterbacks.
The list includes Brian Hoyer (Patriots), DeShone Kizer (Packers), Colt McCoy (Redskins), Brandon Weeden (Texans), Robert Griffin III (Ravens), Kevin Hogan (Broncos), Brock Osweiler (Dolphins), Cody Kessler (Jaguars) and Josh McCown (Jets).
In a Sunday shocker, the Broncos cut former Round 1 pick Paxton Lynch and claimed Hogan (Redskins) from the waiver wire. Hogan got one start for the 2017 Browns, throwing three picks in a 33-17 loss at Houston.
Kizer, 0-15 with the 2017 Browns, started for Green Bay in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Chiefs.
The Ravens say Griffin, who has not played a real game since he was a Brown in the 2016 season finale at Pittsburgh, will be the top backup to Joe Flacco, ahead of rookie first-round pick Lamar Jackson.
If Flacco’s career slump continues, he might not be the man when Baltimore comes to Cleveland for Game 5.
- The Steelers had Landry Jones on their roster (six seasons, 2013-17) longer than the Browns have carried any quarterback during the expansion era (the longest-standing had been Tim Couch with five years, 1999-2003).
Landry, cut Saturday, was 3-2 in five starts in place of Ben Roethlisberger, including 3-0 against the Browns. His final two starts were a 27-24 overtime win over the Browns on Jan. 1, 2017 and a 28-24 win over the Browns on Dec. 31, 2017.
- It could turn out that Corey Coleman’s career ended with a dropped pass the Jan. 31 Pittsburgh game. It cost the Browns a late chance to win. Coleman was traded last month to Buffalo, which cut him Saturday.
- Baker Mayfield finished No. 5 in the league with 501 preseason passing yards, behind only Tyler Bray, Nate Suffeld, Ryan Griffin and Chas Daniel. He’ll pass them later.
- Zach Banner, who was with the Browns from Sept. 4, 2017, through March 15, 2018, has made the Steelers’ roster. He was the biggest man in Berea last year, an offensive linemen listed at 6-foot-8, 360 pounds.
Reach Steve at 330-580-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @sdoerschukREP