We all know that the Browns and their 4-12 record missed the playoffs, but it had me thinking. Are there even any influential players left in the playoffs that are former Browns? Obviously guys playing special teams for San Francisco are important like Blake Costanzo are important, but I’m excluding guys like that. I mean like real, bona fide starters and difference-makers. I think the list says an awful lot about how the Browns have drafted since 1999.
One of the best names on the list that my Twitter followers helped me come up with is New York Giants guard Shaun O’Hara. He debuted with the Browns in 2000 after being undrafted out of Rutgers. He ended up in New York via free agency and even at 34 years of age he would have been a welcome addition to the Cleveland Browns roster. Another Shaun… Rogers that is is active down in New Orleans for the Saints. The Browns are fine with big dudes on the defensive line and they willingly waved goodbye to “Big Baby” because of the financial situation involved. Other than those two, maybe Vickers? Lawrence Vickers is playing in Houston and has probably been massively overrated by Browns fans. Still, to think they couldn’t still use him on this roster is most certainly false. So that’s three players. Anyone else?
One twitter follower (@grz7670) reminded me that the Browns had Lance Moore for a minute in 2005. He was undrafted out of Toledo. He was cut in April, signed by the Saints and the rest is history. The Browns certainly could have used him as a receiver the last few years to put it mildly. Still, I can’t really blame the Browns for that one. At the time he was cut the Browns had Braylon Edwards, Antonio Bryant, and Frisman Jackson. Additionally, Moore really didn’t do anything in the NFL until 2007 a full two years later.
After that you have the QB graveyard. Jeff Garcia, Jake Delhomme and Brady Quinn are still technically “in” the playoffs, but there won’t probably be a snap between them barring catastrophe. Gerard Warren is still with the Patriots, but that is one “Big Money” bust that nobody can deny.
Not sure who else I am missing. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all, but to me it seems instructive for the Browns in terms of personnel over the years. On the heels of Tom Heckert’s drafts getting upgraded in hindsight by Mel Kiper, with terms like “quiet monster” being bandied about it just goes to show where the Browns were coming from since the days of Dwight Clark, Butch Davis, Mangini/Kokinis and even Phil Savage.