Trying to Make Sense of the Best Browns Since 1999 Poll


I’ll admit that I had an ulterior motive when I set about putting together the list of the best Browns since 1999. It was spawned from a conversation with a friend where we decided to figure out if the best Browns since 1999 could field a team that would be favored year-in and year-out over the typical competition in the AFC North. We both decided that if this magical team, across time and space, could be formed that they probably would be favored, but not by nearly as much as they should. Additionally, I don’t believe they would go undefeated by any stretch.

Anyway, here are some facts from the data on the players Browns fans chose as the best.  Not heavy on conclusions today, but I thought maybe we could work on them together.  I’ll just start spitting out things that I noticed from looking at the data points. It is kind of a mess right now, but here it is anyway.

In the end we picked a total of 55 players for our depth chart.

3 QBs
10 OL
6 WR
4 TE
4 RB
8 DL
6 CB
4 S
8 LB
3 Special Teams (one is Cribbs who is also a WR)

QB Tim Couch
  Kelly Holcomb
  Colt McCoy
Offensive Line Joe Thomas
  Eric Steinbach
  Alex Mack
  Shaun O’Hara
  Ryan Tucker
  Ross Verba
  Kevin Shaffer
  Jeff Faine
  Floyd Womack
  Orlando Brown
Wide Receivers Kevin Johnson
  Braylon Edwards
  Joe Jurevicius
  Dennis Northcutt
  Josh Cribbs
  Andre’ Davis
Tight Ends Kellen Winslow
  Ben Watson
  Steve Heiden
  Aaron Shea
Running Back Peyton Hillis
  Jamal Lewis
  Reuben Droughns
  Jerome Harrison
Defensive Line Jabaal Sheard
  Ahtyba Rubin
  Shaun Rogers
  Kenard Lang
  Robaire Smith
  Phil Taylor
  Orpheus Roye
  Courtney Brown
Cornerbacks Joe Haden
  Leigh Bodden
  Daylon McCutcheon
  Anthony Henry
  Eric Wright
  Sheldon Brown
Safeties T.J. Ward
  Brodney Pool
  Sean Jones
  Brian Russell
Linebackers Jamir Miller
  Kamerion Wimbley
  D’Qwell Jackson
  Andra Davis
  Chris Gocong
  Earl Holmes
  Scott Fujita
  Willie McGinest
Special Teams Dave Zastudil
  Phil Dawson
  Josh Cribbs


31 of those players or 56.4% were drafted by the Browns. ***

17 of the overall best players or 31% are currently with the team.

11 of those 17 that are currently with the team were drafted by the Browns.

Only 3 out of the 8 linebackers chosen were drafted by the Browns.

3 out of the 4 safeties selected were drafted by the Browns.

5 out of the 6 corners selected were drafted by the Browns.

5 out of the 6 wide receivers were drafted by the Browns.

Only Jerome Harrison was drafted by the Browns among the running backs.

The top ten players from the list by number of games played…

Phil Dawson 199
Orpheus Roye 113
Josh Cribbs 108
Steve Heiden 106
Andra Davis 105
Daylon McCutcheon 103
Dennis Northcutt 99
Joe Thomas 80
Ryan Tucker 75
Kevin Johnson 73


The lowest number of games played for people on the list…

Brian Russell 28
Peyton Hillis 26
T.J. Ward 24
Colt McCoy 21
Scott Fujita 19
Kelly Holcomb 19
Jabaal Sheard 16
Phil Taylor 16
Earl Holmes 16
Orlando Brown 15


The number of games played for current players…

Phil Dawson 199
Josh Cribbs 108
Joe Thomas 80
D’Qwell Jackson 65
Eric Steinbach 62
Ahtyba Rubin 59
Alex Mack 48
Sheldon Brown 32
Chris Gocong 32
Joe Haden 31
Ben Watson 29
Peyton Hillis 26
T.J. Ward 24
Colt McCoy 21
Scott Fujita 19
Jabaal Sheard 16
Phil Taylor 16


And that’s it for now. The data is there. Trying to make sense of it and come to a conclusion other than the fact that the Browns haven’t been truly consistent or great at accumulating top-level talent is difficult.  Show me what you can do.


*** Undrafted free agents who started their rookie years with the Browns were considered “drafted” even though they weren’t actually picked on draft day. Reason being that these players feel much more like draft picks than traditional free agents.

  • Eric D

    Maybe they win 9 or 10 games in today’s league, assuming all players in their Browns’ prime, but I doubt it. And no way do they win more than 6 against other 10 year composite teams.

  • Eric D

    Actually, I think I might be overvaluing some of these guys. This is probably a .500 team at best. Only bright spot at all is the O-line would be pretty good.

  • Nobody

    I think they could win more in today’s league, as that offense isn’t bad…remember Tim Couch had a 9-7 year with a barely adequate line, he’s be much better with a decent one.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I seriously doubt they’d win 9 let alone 10 games prime or juiced up.  My God this just culminated how bad this organization has been since 1999.  Great story idea but please let it come to a merciful end already.

  • BenRM

    RE: Linebackers

    This is the kind of crap that happens when you flip-flop between a 4-3 and a 3-4.

  • Eric G

    Even I could put up decent numbers behind that O-line. Damn. I think Couch would have had a much better chance to succeed, but our WRs are still horrendous.

  • @37Crookshankave

    lol at only being a .500 team weve had better teams than that when it wasnt an “all-star” (I use that term loosely) team, thats just bias working against this team they would have to be 9 or 10 at least.

  • swig

    We’ve had two teams better than 0.500.  ’07 was an easy schedule, I don’t remember details from ’02.  (not to mention all the seasons we tanked even with an easy schedule)
    This article made be throw up in my mouth.  This organization is a joke.

  • swig

    oops…  My prediction is 8 or 9 wins

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Well, it would certainly be interesting to see what Tim Couch would have done with such a solid O-line. Maybe he’d have been good!

    More to the point – even this team would be about 10-6/11-5 against a normal schedule. That’s pretty depressing, considering it’s the best from a dozen years.

  • TBuck

    Alright. Maybe I’m wearing my homer glasses, and I know that a ten year All-Star Team should be better than everyone elses current team, but this team would be awesome. At least 12 wins if these guys were in their Browns prime. Lets start from where the rubber hits the road OL and DL.

    OL – Stacked, Thomas, Steinbach, Mack, Verba, Tucker
    DL – Stacked, Sheard, Rubin, Rogers, Brown (Side Note: Let’s not forget how dominant Brown was when he was healthy. In my mind he was only a bust because he kept getting hurt.)


    QB – Average. But behind that line they could look a lot better.
    RB – Punishing, with change of pace Harrison
    WR – Seriously? Are you scoffing at Edwards at his best, KJ as a 2, Jurevicius, and Northcutt as 3 and 4? That would be great.
    TE – Great and versitile. Winslow and un-concussed Watson


    CB – Good. Hayden plus any of the other two would be above average
    S – Average. Depends on how good you think Ward is.
    LB – Good. Miller, Wimbley, and Jackson.

    But behind that DL both the second and third level guys would look at least one nothch better than they really are (CB – Great, S – Good, LB – Great)

    What I find sad but encouraging is that about 10 out of the 22 best since ’99 are on the team right now, the other half was spread out over a decade.

  • Jay

    Re: the RB situation. Maybe it was discussed when the initial “Best RB’s..” was rolled out, but there is no true fullback on this roster. How was Vickers left off of this roster (and why is he not still in the Brown & Orange for that matter)?

  • mgbode

    and w/ 2010 Hillis + ’07 Braylon/JoeJ/Winslow flanking KJ

    I think that is actually a pretty solid offense (w/ Chud OC)

  • Hrd53

    Call me overly optimistic, but with decent coaching I think we could win 10-12 games with this roster.  I feel like our defense would keep us in the game and with our OL, we’d actually have a good running attack with Jamal Lewis and Peyton Hillis.   Sadly we’d still not quite stack up against any of the SB teams (even the losers) in the past decade. 

  • TBuck

    I agree. The All-Expansion Browns should include Vickers. Even though he doesn’t fit the system now.

    Which brings up another point, how about an All-Expansion Coaching staff and front office…..Yikes.

  • Harv 21

    Ran this data through my own software program, which spit out these most likely conclusions:
    – Don’t hire a guy as a GM when he’s never previously shown any ability in the area of talent evaluation just because he was your yes-man at your old team.
    – Don’t let your coach also be your GM, or hire your GM, or have the power to fire your GM, or have the power to overrule the GM.

  • dan

    I would have liked to see the poll included front office, head coach, and coordinator positions. My votes:

    GM: Heckert
    HC: Palmer
    OC: Chud
    DC: Jauron

    Apologies for any misspellings.

  • Jay

    I think we had enough grief & misery going thru the players. I don’t even want to think about coaching & front office since ’99!

  • BenRM

    It depends. Did Tim Couch have a mega-rocket-laser-ufo-arm? Could he run a 4.41 40? Did he have intangibles like a great head of hair and a good head on his shoulders? These things are important deciding factors!

  • Kevin

    the one think that strikes me in that selection: QB! All other position as everybody pointed out is pretty much stacked. QB is the only one where everybody will agree that it sucks! 

    I dont know if it was the intention but for me once again it shows how badly we need a top notch QB (RG3??) 

    Also 31% of the players are currently on the roster, that’s a pretty good number I think and it should be encouraging for the near future!

  • hutch058


  • Max

    Here’s the list:


  • mgbode

    then we’ll insert backup QB Brady “goldilocks” Quinn :)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Good analysis, and noticed the same re: current guys. Hopefully in 5 years the All-Expansion Browns will include mostly people on the team.

  • Ritz

    I think they would really struggle… The receivers still would suck, the d-line would be ok, linebackers would be average I guess. QB would still be a major problem.

  • Ritz

    QB – Below average

  • Ritz

    This team would not be good, and it is certainly not ‘stacked’ as some say…. Many actual current teams have more pro-bowlers and far superior talent.

    And who would coach the team? Don’t even want to start that debate…

  • BrownsFanSF

    Seriously, how many combined pro-bowls are on that list?!?  Like 4 or 5 maybe (almost all of them being Joe Thomas).  Please H and H, we need talent.

  • rob

    D-line ok? Just having Rubin and Rogers in a 4 man D-line would take up 4-5 O-linemen alone leaving Sheard and Smith truckers lanes to the QB, and “average” LB’s? Willie McGinest, Kameron Wimbley, and D’Q would really be something to see behind Sheard, Rogers, Rubin, and Robaire Smith rotating in and out Phil Taylor, Brown, Fujita and the rest would keep QB’s up at night with worry…then back that up with the CB’s and safeties on that list, that would be one mutha of a Defense.

  • Ritz

    Yes. D-line OK… The DEs would still be average. Sheard looks good but he is not close to an all-pro.

    LBs are average. Not one of thoes guys is an all-pro as a Brown.

  • Ritz

    Let me correct myself – Miller was one year, but you did not mention him in your post.