Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The results of the 2011-2012 NFL Drafts continue to haunt the Cleveland Browns

While players from their 2011-12 may be set to hit their peak production this season, the Browns continue to struggle due to their poor drafting during this time. Where the Browns worst in the league?

For a team mired in a 17-year struggle following their return as an expansion team, the Cleveland Browns need to have successful drafts. With four and five years to judge the results, and the players from those drafts hitting their peak potential at this time, the 2011 and 2012 drafts were a disaster from which the team continues to recover. 

But did the Browns have the worst draft in the NFL during that time?

It's easier to say which teams were the best. 

Minnesota has a league-high eight players remaining from those drafts, a group that includes five starters (tight end Kyle Rudolph and guard Brandon Fusco from 2011 and left tackle Matt Kalil, safety Harrison Smith and kicker Blair Walsh from 2012).

Cincinnati has the most impact players with six starters — receiver A.J. Green, quarterback Andy Dalton and guard Clint Boling from 2011 and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, guard Kevin Zeitler and safety George Iloka from 2012. In retrospect, the Bengals have clearly left their history as a poor-drafting team well in the past and got perhaps the greatest impact from the 2011-12 drafts. 

The Los Angeles Rams have six draft picks still on the roster, including five starters. Dallas (six, with four starters), Seattle (five, with five starters) and Philadelphia (five, with four starters) also had outstanding drafts that are still paying dividends.

While good drafts during this time isn't a guarantee of success, the worst drafts during this time are certainly extracting a price from their teams. There’s an overwhelming correlation between bad drafts and a bad product on Sundays.

The Giants don’t have a single player on the roster to show for their 15 picks. The Browns and Raiders have one player apiece, but no starters, from their 19 and 14 selections, respectively. Baltimore (16 picks), Chicago (11 picks) and Jacksonville (11 picks) each have one player — a starter — still on the team. Those six teams posted a combined record of 32-64 last season.

What makes the Browns draft worse is the number of picks (19) they had to use. While other teams with a high number of picks (e.g., Cincinnati with 18) show well in this chart, the Browns stand out as having the fourth-most picks during this span, and the 31st-best results. 

Who's left from the Browns 2011-12 drafts? Only DL John Hughes, whose third-round selection was considered a mystery by most draft "experts" at the time. 

One thing that’s clear from the data is teams are reluctant to re-sign backups, preferring instead to churn over the roster with fresh faces on inexpensive rookie contracts. A total of 512 players were drafted in 2011 and 2012. Of the 99 players still on their original teams’ rosters, 79 are projected starters and 20 are backups.

WHO’S LEFT FROM 2011 AND 2012 DRAFTS

This chart shows the number of draft picks in 2011 and 2012 (first three columns) and the number of players, with starters in parentheses, on their original team’s roster (last three columns). “Starter” is from the depth charts at Ourlads.com and includes specialists.

Team11 Picks12 PicksTotal11—on team (start)12—on team (start)Total (start)
Minnesota 10 10 20 2 (2) 6 (3) 8 (5)
Cincinnati 8 10 18 3 (3) 4 (3) 7 (6)
Los Angeles 8 10 18 2 (2) 4 (3) 6 (5)
Dallas 8 7 15 2 (1) 4 (3) 6 (4)
Seattle 9 10 19 2 (2) 3 (3) 5 (5)
Philadelphia 11 9 20 1 (1) 4 (3) 5 (4)
Buffalo 9 9 18 2 (2) 2 (2) 4 (4)
Indianapolis 5 10 15 1 (1) 3 (3) 4 (4)
Tampa Bay 8 7 15 1 (1) 3 (3) 4 (4)
Denver 9 7 16 2 (1) 2 (2) 4 (3)
Washington 12 9 21 2 (2) 2 (1) 4 (3)
New England 9 7 16 2 (1) 2 (1) 4 (2)
Houston 8 8 16 2 (2) 1 (1) 3 (3)
Pittsburgh 7 9 16 2 (2) 1 (1) 3 (3)
Arizona 8 7 15 1 (1) 2 (1) 3 (2)
Green Bay 10 8 18 1 (1) 2 (1) 3 (2)
Kansas City 9 8 17 2 (2) 1 (0) 3 (2)
Miami 6 9 15 2 (1) 1 (1) 3 (2)
Tennessee 9 7 16 2 (1) 1 (1) 3 (2)
Atlanta 6 6 12 0 (0) 2 (2) 2 (2)
Carolina 8 7 15 1 (1) 1 (1) 2 (2)
Detroit 5 8 13 0 (0) 2 (2) 2 (2)
New Orleans 6 5 11 2 (2) 0 (0) 2 (2)
San Diego 8 7 15 1 (1) 1 (1) 2 (2)
San Francisco 10 7 17 2 (2) 0 (0) 2 (2)
N.Y. Jets 6 8 14 2 (1) 0 (0) 2 (1)
Baltimore 8 8 16 1 (1) 0 (0) 1 (1)
Chicago 5 6 11 0 (0) 1 (1) 1 (1)
Jacksonville 5 6 11 1 (1) 0 (0) 1 (1)
Cleveland 8 11 19 0 (0) 1 (0) 1 (0)
Oakland 8 6 14 1 (0) 0 (0) 1 (0)
N.Y. Giants 8 7 15 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0)

This article is adapted for the Browns from an original story on Packer Report by Bill Huber, with his permission. 


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