When the Cleveland Browns returned as an NFL franchise in 1999 after losing the team to Baltimore at the conclusion of the 1995 season, it was with great expectations for the future that the team selected Tim Couch out of Kentucky with the overall number one selection in the draft.
It could not have gone worse.
The Couch era was the beginning of the Browns' futile efforts to snag a franchise quarterback in the draft. From QBs fans had never heard of like Spergon Wynn to selecting he hot mess that was Johnny Football, the Browns have written the textbook on how not to draft signal-callers out of college.
What's just as frustrating for The Dawd Pound are the incredible number of Pro-Bowl and Hall-of-Fame-caliber quarterbacks the team has passed on.
The Brownies have taken 10 quarterbacks since the franchise returned in 1999. Here they are in order from pretty crummy to downright terrible. And just for good measure, included are the QBs the team could've selected.
10. Spergon Wynn – Texas State
NFL Draft: 2000, Round 6, Pick 183
Key Stat: Wynn finished his NFL career with just one touchdown and seven interceptions.
Legacy: One of the few football players to spend time in the NFL, NFL Europe, and the Canadian Football League.
Who They Whiffed On: Chad Pennington, Marc Bulger, Tom Brady
9. Charlie Frye – Akron
NFL Draft: 2005, Round 3, Pick 67
Key Stat: Set Browns' single game passer rating for a rookie at 136.7.
Legacy: He beat out both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn for the starting job in 2007, but was benched for the rest of the season after just one start.
NFL Draft: 2004, Round 4, Pick 106
Key Stat: While in college, he threw for an astonishing 12,666 career yards and 87 touchdowns over a four-year span.
Who They Whiffed On: Ben Roethlisberger
7. Cody Kessler – USC
NFL Draft: 2016, Round 3, Pick 93
Key Stat: Kessler was inactive for the first six games of this season as the team's third-string QB.
Legacy: It's hard to tell at this point, but he can't possibly be as bad as Kevin Hogan and DeShone Kizer were this season.
6. Colt McCoy – Texas
NFL Draft: 2010, Round 3, Pick 85
Key Stat: McCoy threw for 21 touchdowns during his three years with the Browns.
Legacy: Another big name from a big-time program that didn't work out.
Who They Whiffed On: Tim Tebow (Yes, that's how poor the 2010 QB crop was.)
5. Brady Quinn – Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2007, Round 1, Pick 22
Key Stat: Made $7.5 million guaranteed upon signing with the team, but threw for just 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions from 2007 to 2009.
Legacy: The first of three QBs taken by Cleveland with the overall #22 pick in the draft that didn't pan out.
Who They Whiffed On: Matt Moore
4. DeShone Kizer – Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2017, Round 2, Pick 52
Key Stat: Zero wins as a starter during his rookie campaign.
Legacy: It's hard to know after just one season, but only 11 TDs to 22 INTs makes it hard to be optimistic.
3. Brandon Weeden – Oklahoma State
NFL Draft: 2012, Round 1, Pick 22
Key Stat: At 28 years of age, Weeden was the oldest player ever taken in the first round.
Legacy: After throwing for 3,385 yards his rookie season, Weeden was off to Dallas after just two seasons in Cleveland.
2. Tim Couch – Kentucky
NFL Draft: 1999, Round 1, Pick 1
Key Stat: Couch was the first draft pick after the city got its team back.
Legacy: The first of nearly 20 years of quarterbacking futility all started with the former Wildcats' standout.
Who They Whiffed On: Donovan McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Shaun King
1. Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M
NFL Draft: 2014, Round 1, Pick 22
Key Stat: Holds Browns record for most QB rushing yards in a single game with 108.
Legacy: The selection of Manziel proved once and for all how clueless the organization is on all fronts. The warning signs from when Manziel was in college were in plain sight for everyone to see, but the Browns ignored them and payed the price. "Johnny Football" was so terrible in Cleveland that he never got a second chance in the NFL.