4 Biggest Draft Mistakes in Cleveland Browns History

The Cleveland Browns drafted Johnny Manziel in 2014.
The Cleveland Browns drafted Johnny Manziel in 2014. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns have been a total disaster since returning to the NFL in 1999. A main reason why is because the team has had trouble getting out of its own way in the NFL Draft.

The Browns' draft history is filled with busts, but these four stand out far and above the rest in terms of the team's biggest mistakes.

4. Justin Gilbert

Justin Gilbert had a forgettable tenure with the Cleveland Browns.
Justin Gilbert had a forgettable tenure with the Cleveland Browns. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Browns selected cornerback Justin Gilbert with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the only player between picks No. 5 - No. 17 to never make a Pro Bowl. He appeared in a total of 23 games for the Browns in two seasons and had one interception. That's it. The team passed on the likes of Aaron Donald, Odell Beckham Jr., and Anthony Barr to take Gilbert.

3. Kellen Winslow

Former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow
Former Browns tight end Kellen Winslow

Kellen Winslow has recently been in the news for criminal charges that landed him in prison. From a football standpoint, he was a disappointment for the Browns. The tight end was taken No. 6 overall in 2004 and only played in 44 games for the Browns in five years. He broke his leg two games into the 2004 season and missed the entire 2005 campaign after a motorcycle accident that tore his ACL. He did have 1,106 yards in 2007, but that marked the best season of his entire career. Winslow was traded to Tampa Bay after the 2008 season. In that draft, the Browns could've had guys like Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Hall and Jonathan Vilma.

2. Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson last played in the AAF.
Trent Richardson last played in the AAF. | Logan Riely/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns actually traded up to draft Trent Richardson at No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Jim Brown said he wasn't that good and that was the first bad omen. While Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns his rookie season, Cleveland traded him the next year to the Indianapolis Colts when the Browns could've just remained steady in 2012 and gotten their hands on franchise guys like Luke Keuchly, Stephon Gilmore and Fletcher Cox. While they got a first-round pick in return from Indy, it was the No. 26 selection in 2014, which netted them the next guy....

1. Johnny Manziel

Johnny Manziel was a disaster for the Cleveland Browns.
Johnny Manziel was a disaster for the Cleveland Browns. | Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

The Browns used the pick acquired in the Richardson deal to TRADE UP AGAIN in 2014 and take Johnny Manziel at No. 22 overall. The rest is history. The Browns got off to a 7-4 start in 2014 before Manziel won the starting job over Brian Hoyer. The team lost the final five games of the year. He was thrust into the starting role in 2015 and threw seven touchdowns in 10 games. His tenure was filled with controversy and personal problems that led the team to outright release him after two terrible seasons. His collapse led the team to undertake a total rebuild. Who was taken after Johnny Football? Teddy Bridgewater, DeMarcus Lawrence, Derek Carr and Kyle Van Noy, to name a few.