There is no debate as to whom is the worst defensive end selection in Browns history. It’s Courtney Brown. Selected first overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brown only played 47 games in Cleveland, never coming close to reaching expectations.
Over the course of his seven-year career, five with the Browns and two with the Broncos, Brown only played in all 16 games once, his rookie season. In his final six years, Brown actually missed more games due to injury than he played in.
That being said, his failure to succeed in the NFL can’t be placed entirely on his injury woes. Coming out of college, Brown was a consensus top-five talent, and many set his ceiling at Hall of Famer Bruce Smith. Apparently, they were wrong. Whether it was the fault of simple misevaluation, a lack of heart or something else, Brown never proved to be an impact player whatsoever in the NFL.
After being released from Cleveland in 2004, Brown went to Denver where he played more games in 2005 than he had since his rookie season. That said, his 20 tackles and 2 sacks did little to revitalize his career, and in 2006 his life in the NFL was effectively ended after being placed on injured reserve before the start of the season.
What’s even worse is whom the Browns passed up on during the 2000 draft. Of the top 20 picks, Brown is one of only seven to never make the Pro Bowl. Even so, the other six players from that group include the likes of Plaxico Burress, Ron Dayne and Chad Pennington, all of which had more successful careers than Brown. Likewise, if Cleveland really wanted to go with a front-seven defensive player, they could have selected LaVar Arrington, Brian Urlacher, Shaun Ellis or John Abraham.
Brown is not only the worst defensive end selection in Browns history, but easily one of their worst picks ever. Honestly, for a franchise that has experienced so much bad luck and dysfunction, it’s somewhat poetic that a Brown failed the Browns. In five season with Cleveland, the supposedly generational talent only managed 156 tackles, 19 sacks and six forced fumbles. Fortunately for Brown, he at least walked away with an estimated $25 million.
Like this? CLICK HERE to see how undrafted Andrew Hawkins made it to the Cleveland Browns.