It may be hard to imagine, but there was a time when the Browns drafted well. At least they were on par with the rest of the league.
Over the years there have even been a number of players that the Browns found later in the draft—diamonds in the rough if you will. These players became key contributors and even occasionally among the best at their positions.
In this two-part series we will highlight 10 of these players drafted in the fifth round or higher that became solid regulars and even stand-outs in Browns history.
10. LB Dick Ambrose 12th round pick, 1975- Before becoming a judge in Cuyahoga County, Ambrose patrolled the middle of the Browns defense from 1975-1983. As a 12th round pick out of Virginia, this hard-hitter became a starter in the middle of his rookie year due to an injury and never looked back. Injuries cut short his own career however, and Ambrose retired following an injury-riddled 1983 season.
9. DL Ahtyba Rubin 6th round pick, 2008- The most recent player on the list, Rubin played 7 years for the Browns before signing with the Seahawks in 2015. As a Brown, Rubin played every spot along the defensive line, sliding from nose tackle all the way out to defensive end depending on the scheme at the time. Rubin recorded 12 sacks and 212 tackles in Cleveland and was a solid and consistent presence on an ever-changing defensive front.
8. WR Reggie Langhorne 7th round pick, 1985- One of the more improbable draft stories in franchise history, Langhorne came from Division II Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Reggie played 7 years in Cleveland, catching 261 passes for 3,597 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played alongside fellow rookie Bernie Kosar, and a backfield tandem of Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner.
7. DE Rob Burnett 5th round pick, 1990- A 1994 Pro-Bowl selection, Burnett registered 40.5 sacks as a Brown, the third highest total in team history. (Sacks became an official stat in 1982.) He also had 305 tackles. Burnett was in his prime when the Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore. He was a starter on the Super Bowl winning Ravens team in 2000.
6. RB Earnest Byner 10th round pick, 1984- Byner had two stints in Cleveland, rushing for 3,364 yards and 27 touchdowns and catching 276 passes for 2,630 yards and 10 scores. Byner will be remembered in Cleveland for being the second part of a rushing tandem that both went over a thousand yards in a single season with Kevin Mack, and of course for fumbling at the goal line in the 1987 AFC Championship game against Denver.
To be continued...