Growing up in the Cleveland area, I have memories of the Cleveland Browns that are quite vivid. I will passionately argue that The Fumble hurt far more than The Drive. I remember being so disgusted when the Browns traded Chip Banks and drafted Mike Junkin. And I proudly wear and own a Brian Sipe jersey, having been in the stands for Sipe’s last game as a Brown versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983, before Sipe jumped to the USFL.
The heartaches and frustrations of the Cleveland Browns fanbase are too many to write; it is painful enough that I remember them. One of the most puzzling decisions the Browns have made since their NFL return in 1999 has been to continually ignore and neglect selecting players from Ohio State.
Yes, I know that the Browns have former Buckeyes Brian Hartline and Terrelle Pryor on the roster. Former Buckeye Simon Fraser played for the Browns as an undrafted free agent from 2005-2007. And I also remember that the Browns drafted former Buckeyes Darnell Sanders in 2002 and Brian Robiskie in 2009. But that’s it – 2 players on the current roster, with a grand total of 5 Buckeyes from 1999 through 2015.
Compare and contrast that with the Pittsburgh Steelers. From 2001, when the Steelers selected Rodney Bailey in the sixth round, the Steelers have picked a total of 8 Buckeyes. The most recent selection was in the 2015 NFL Draft, when Pittsburgh picked Doran Grant in the 4th round. Mike Adams, Doran Grant, Cameron Heyward, and Ryan Shazier are all on the Steelers roster – considering Grant grew up in Akron, and the Browns have a need at cornerback, wouldn’t it be nice to see Grant playing for Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh?
Back to my point. With so many talented Buckeyes in the 2016 NFL Draft, could the Browns wise up and improve their roster with some Buckeyes?
I will quickly add that I do not believe all of the Buckeyes would make sense for the Browns. For example, while Joey Bosa should be a tremendous pro, the Browns are running a 3-4 defense, which would transition Bosa from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker. I am not sure if that would be in Bosa’s best interests as a pro. Besides, I do not believe Bosa will even be on the board for the Browns to pick.
Could Vonn Bell be in the Browns’ draft plans?
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 25, 2016
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Browns selected Michael Thomas in the second round? How about Nick Vannett in the third round? On day 3 of the draft, picking Jalin Marshall late in the sixth or seventh round? Chase Farris? Tyvis Powell?
Hue Jackson is the latest Cleveland Browns head coach to try and turn around this once proud franchise. A good place to start is to add players from about two and half hours south on I-71.