Ranking the best Browns third-round picks in the NFL Draft

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Browns’ very first third-round pick in the NFL Draft was a halfback named Jimmy Joe Robinson. He was the 39th overall pick in 1950.

The Browns drafted 31 players in the 30-round draft that year and didn’t come away with much. Ken Carpenter and John Sandusky, the Browns’ first two picks, had careers, but just a few of the other draft picks even played in the NFL. Instead, they most likely opted for non-football jobs with better pay.

Robinson was one of many who left football behind. He had been the first black football player at Pitt, but instead of joining the Browns, he joined the Army, then became a minister. He later went on to become an important part of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The Browns eventually had more success keeping their third-round picks in football. But always having a third-round pick has been a challenge. In the 70 drafts since the Browns selected Robinson, they’ve gone without a third-rounder 19 times.

This year the Browns have a pair of third-round picks, thanks to an additional selection as compensation for Kwesi Adopho-Mensa becoming GM of the Vikings. While we wait to see what those players become – or who they will be – we’ve ranked the best third-round picks in Browns history.

A few things of note:

1. This list only considers how the player performed for the Browns.

2. Only players who have played at least four years with the Browns make the list. That’s the length of a rookie contract. It wouldn’t be fair to measure a player after only a year or two.

3. The list includes players drafted since 1950, when the Browns joined the NFL.

Here are the Browns’ top 10 third-round draft picks:

10. Duke Johnson, RB

Year: 2015

Overall pick: 77.

Browns seasons: 4.

Johnson was always a mystery the Browns wanted to solve, but could never, leading to his departure in 2019. The versatile running back excelled in the passing game and set the team’s single-season record for receptions by a running back (74). Also, he was the first NFL running back since Herschel Walker to have at least 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons.

9. Christian Kirksey, LB

Year: 2014

Overall pick: 71.

Browns seasons: 6.

Kirksey became a full-time starter by his third season and led the Browns in tackles and defensive snaps in 2016 and 2017. That earned him a four-year contract extension worth $ 38 million. Kirksey was a team captain from 2017-19, but injuries derailed his final two seasons, limiting him to nine games. He was released in 2020.

8. Bo Scott, RB

Year: 1965

Overall pick: 32.

Browns seasons: 6.

Scott was drafted out of Ohio State in 1965, but instead of joining a backfield that already included Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Ernie Green, Scott signed with the Ottawa Roughriders and played four seasons in the CFL. He was a starter by his second season with the Browns and rushed for 1,231 yards 16 rushing touchdowns from 1970-71.

7. Reggie Camp, DE

Year: 1983

Overall pick: 68.

Browns seasons: 5.

Camp was a mainstay on the defensive line as the team began to have success in the mid-1980s. He had 35 sacks over his five seasons, including a team-high 14 in 1984. He played the final year of his career with the Falcons in 1988.

6. Daylon McCutcheon, DB

Year: 1999

Overall pick: 62.

Browns seasons: 7.

McCutcheon was the Browns ‘fourth pick in 1999 and started more games over his career (96) than any of the Browns’ other 10 picks that year. He was a full-time starter every year of his career and finished with 12 interceptions, seven forced fumbles and two touchdowns.

5. Anthony Pleasant, DE

Year: 1990

Overall pick: 73.

Browns seasons: 6.

The Browns drafted Pleasant and Rob Burnett (fifth round) in 1990, fueling their pass rush for the first half of the decade. Pleasant had 33.5 sacks with the Browns and nine forced fumbles. His six forced fumbles in 1995 led the NFL. He played the final eight years of his career with five different teams.

4. Ross Fichtner, DB

Year: 1960

Overall pick: 33.

Browns seasons: 8.

Fichtner became a starting safety by his third season and remained one until leaving the Browns in 1968. He had 27 interceptions from 1962-67 and returned three for touchdowns. His best game was a 1966 win against the Cowboys in which he had three interceptions of Don Meredith.

3. Charlie Hall, LB

Year: 1971

Overall pick: 68.

Browns seasons: 10.

Hall didn’t start a game as a rookie but started every game in his second season and for the rest of his career, totaling 13 interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Hall’s final season was 1980, when the Browns ended a seven-year playoff drought.

2. Dave Logan, WR

Year: 1976

Overall pick: 65.

Browns seasons: 8.

Logan was the Browns’ second pick in 1976, two rounds after they took running back Mike Pruitt seventh overall. Logan became a full-time starter by his third season and led the Browns in receptions (59) and receiving yards (982) in 1979, which was the beginning of the Kardiac Kids era. His career included 262 catches for 4,247 yards and 24 touchdowns. His receiving yardage is ninth all-time for the Browns, and his touchdowns are 11th.

1. Don Cockroft, K

Year: 1967

Overall pick: 55.

Browns seasons: 14

The Browns knew the value of a good kicker when they drafted Cockroft. Future Hall of Famer Lou Groza had the job at the time, but his career was winding down. Cockroft spent his rookie season on the taxi squad, then, when Groza retired following the 1967 season, Cockroft took over and handled both kicking and punting the first nine years of his career.

As a straight-on kicker, Cockroft’s career field-goal percentage was 65.9, which is low by today’s standards. But he led the NFL in FG percentage three times in his career and topped 70 percent six times. He was below 60 percent just twice in his final nine seasons. Cockroft finished his career as the second-leading scorer in franchise history (1,080 points), behind Groza.

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