The Top 10 Browns Players Since 1999
Since their return in 1999, the Cleveland Browns have yet to create a consistently competitive squad of high-quality players.
Though they’ve had some great players, they never seemed to be on the same team at the same time.
Even though the Browns have had many players fail to live up to early-round expectations, they have also had some very productive ones.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the most productive players for the Cleveland Browns since their return in 1999.
When a list starts with an offensive lineman, fans may think that a team has lost all credibility.
However, ranking Thomas high is an easy decision. During his 2007-2017 career, Thomas was the most dependable player on the Browns squad and, arguably, the best-left tackle in the NFL.
Picked third in the first round of the draft, Thomas worked out well for the team and is, arguably, their most skilled post-1999 player.
Though Joe Haden had some difficulties with partying during his career, his on-field production cannot be argued.
This cornerback was one of the strongest for the Browns during his 2010-2017 career with the squad, making two Pro Bowls and second-team another year.
Haden currently plays with the Pittsburgh Steelers as of 2019.
Former Browns and current New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur had this to say of his Browns squad: “The best player is the kicker.
That’s a problem.” A funny quote, no doubt, but Dawson was a skilled player for the squad.
Dawson was a very consistent and productive player while with the Browns throughout his career.
He currently holds the franchise record for most field goals, breaking Hall of Fame kicker Lou Groza’s record in 2010.
Dawson was also the only Browns kicker ever chosen to a Pro Bowl, though Groza made it as a left tackle.
As a center, Alex Mack provided a sturdy middle for the Browns offensive line.
The strength of he and Joe Thomas often provided the Browns with opportunities to run, but a lack of talent in skill players made their efforts come to naught.
Mack played 5,279 snaps as the center before a nasty broken leg ended his streak.
Mack left the Browns in free agency and signed a lucrative contract with the Atlanta Falcons.
Mack has made the Pro Bowl six times since 2010.
Josh Cribbs was a kick return runner and wide receiver who brought excitement to the Browns every time he touched the ball.
He was a fan favorite among many Browns fans.
With an NFL record (a tie) of eight kickoff returns for touchdowns and a record of two kickoff return touchdowns of over 100 yards or more in a single game, Cribbs always seemed ready to break away for a score.
He left the Browns in 2012 and retired in 2017.
Kellen Winslow’s post-Browns career has been one of many legal troubles.
Arrests for marijuana possession, charges of kidnapping and rape, and a conviction of rape have made his name a dark one in Cleveland.
However, he still holds the franchise record for most tight end receiving yardage in a single season for the Browns and was a reliable player on-field during his career.
Miller is one of only a handful of players from the 1999-2002 era who made much of an impression on the league.
With a 13-sack season in 2001, Miller was selected to the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro.
Though his career never again reached those peaks, he did end his career with 669 tackles and 36 sacks with nine forced fumbles.
Derek Anderson’s career peaked in his excellent 2007 season, during which he led the Browns to a 10-6 record and earned a Pro Bowl appearance.
His career likely reached its lowest point years later when fans cheered in a home game after he was injured.
Anderson stayed with the Browns until 2009 and is likely still their best quarterback in the post-1999 era.
Anderson recently retired in 2019 after a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills.
Wide receiver Josh Gordon is likely the best the Browns have had since their 1999 resurrection.
Most of his acclaim comes in a 2013 season. During this period, he earned 1,696 yards and was the first NFL player to have back-to-back 200-yard games.
Gordon was traded to the Patriots in 2018, where, as of 2019, he still plays.
Couch was the first quarterback for the new Browns team and was selected number one overall.
Though his numbers are a little shaky, including a 75.1 QB career ranking and 64 touchdowns to 67 interceptions, he did get the team into post-season for the first time as a new squad.
However, his talent was never utilized due to a poor offensive line, and he was off the team in 2003, never to play another professional snap.