Previously, we gave you numbers ten through five of the best Browns draft picks round five and higher.
Before we move on to the top five, here are a few honorable mentions that just missed the cut.
CB Buster Skrine 5th round pick in 2011, LB Andra Davis 5th round pick in 2002, RB Jerome Harrison 5th round pick in 2006, WR Michael Jackson 6th round pick in 1991, OT Paul Farren 12th round pick in 1983, C Mike Baab 5th round pick in 1982, G John Wooten 5th round pick in 1959.
The top part of the list contains legendary names. If anyone was surprised players like Langhorne and Byner weren’t in the top two or three, well maybe it makes more sense now.
5. OT Cody Risien 7th round pick, 1979- A two-time Pro-Bowl player, Risien held down the right tackle spot of the Browns line for nine seasons after starting out at left guard his rookie season. He was durable, missing just a handful of games in his ten-year career. Cody was named #36 in Plain Dealer’s list of top 100 Browns a few years ago. He was voted first or second team All-Pro three times.
4. QB Brian Sipe 13th round pick, 1972- In 1970 the Browns drafted Purdue’s Mike Phipps with the 3rd pick in the draft to be the franchise quarterback. Two years later the Browns took a flier on a kid out of San Diego State in the 13th round. He would eventually beat Phipps out for the starting job and become the Browns all-time leader in passing yards (a franchise mark that he still holds).
The leader of the Kardiac Kids, Sipe passed his way to an AFC MVP award in 1980 when he threw for 4,132 yards and 30 touchdowns (both still single season Browns records). Only the legendary Otto Graham threw for more touchdowns in a Browns uniform.
3. OT Doug Dieken 6th round pick, 1971- For those who only remember Dieken as a broadcaster, you missed out on a fantastic career for an offensive tackle. Dieken took over at left tackle his rookie year and never looked back. He started every game the Browns played from 1972 through the 1984 season. He joined his quarterback Brian Sipe at the Pro Bowl in 1981.
2. OG Gene Hickerson 7th round pick 1957- These last two spots could really be numbers 1 and 1A. How good was Hickerson? How about 6 Pro Bowls, 3 times All-Pro, and a Pro Football Hall of Fame selection. He played in 202 straight games. He helped pave the way for Jim Brown and Leroy Kelly. He was the starting right guard for the last championship team in Cleveland.
1. RB Leroy Kelly 8th round pick 1964- Jim Brown retired after the 1965 season. Fortunately for the Browns, they had drafted Kelly in ’64. Leroy Kelly is still the Browns 2nd leading rusher with 7,274 yards and 74 touchdowns. He was a six time Pro-Bowl selection, a 3 time All-Pro and has a Hall of Fame bust in Canton. Kelly had a whopping 43 carries his first two seasons in the NFL with Jim Brown on the roster. The season after Brown retired, Kelly rushed 209 times for 1,141 yards and 15 scores. He was also a good receiver out of the backfield, catching 190 passes for another 13 touchdowns. He could run, catch and especially block. And he’s our top draft diamond.