With the news of Myles Garrett officially signing a new five-year, $125 million extension with the Cleveland Browns, we can now say it: they’ve finally found a decent first-round pick. The first-overall pick in 2017, Garrett is now the first player the Browns have signed to a second deal since Joe Haden, a top-10 pick in the 2010 NFL Draft—who is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And to make things abundantly clear, it isn’t for a lack of trying. The Browns had nine more selections in the first round between the Haden and Garrett picks, and none of them saw a second contract with the Browns—in most cases, they never saw another deal with anyone. And you can add the two other draft picks the team made in the first round the same year as Garrett.
But let’s work our way forward. 2011 brought Phil Taylor, the Baylor defensive tackle. He would play four seasons with the Browns, injuries being a major factor in his inability to continue with his NFL career, starting 42 of 44 career games.
A year later, they drafted running back Trent Richardson third-overall—then traded him to the Colts for a first-round pick a year later. He ultimately played just three seasons in the NFL. Drafted in his age-29 season, Brandon Weeden, the quarterback taken that same year, lasted just two seasons in Cleveland, but somehow managed to still be in the league with Houston as recently as 2018, posting a career 6-19 record.
Arguably one of their more ‘successful’ first-round picks was Barkevious Mingo in 2013, the sixth-overall pick who is at least still in the league. The Browns traded him to New England after three seasons, and he’s been with a different team every year since. He was a reserve for Houston last season, but started 14 games for the Seahawks the year before.
Then there was the disaster of 2014, with cornerback Justin Gilbert eighth overall followed by Johnny Manziel. They ended up dumping Gilbert on the Steelers after two seasons for I believe a sixth-round pick, and that was his last year in the league. Manziel ended up getting in trouble and going to rehab after two failed seasons, despite repeated attempts to make his way back.
Cleveland focused on the trenches in 2016 with Danny Shelton on defense and Cameron Erving on offense. Erving was traded to the Chiefs after two seasons. He started 13 games in 2018 and eight last year, but is ultimately a reserve. Shelton is yet another linemen they traded to the Patriots, after three seasons. He started 14 games last season and is a very solid player that the Browns kind of gave up on amid regime changes.
More recently, the Browns have already traded Jabrill Peppers, the safety who was drafted the same year as Gilbert, though the Giants have at least picked up his fifth-year option. The other pick, tight end David Njoku, had his option picked up by Cleveland, but he has wanted to be traded for over a year. We’ll see if that happens.