NFL Network showed their rundown of the top 10 Browns of all time. You can watch here, but if you don’t want the preceding commercial, here’s the list:
10. Mike McCormack
9. Dante Lavelli “AFC”
8. Gene Hickerson
7. Leroy Kelly
6. Bill Willis
5. Lou “The Toe” Groza
4. Ozzie Newsome
3. Marion Motley
2. Otto Graham
1. Jim Brown.
All Hall of Famers. Which leads me to check out which Browns HOFers got snubbed. Len Ford, Frank Gatski, and three who spent major chunks of their careers with other teams: Paul Warfield, Joe DeLamielleure, and Bobby Mitchell. (Eight of the 10 NFLN picks played every down of their pro careers with Cleveland.)
Here’s a link to a P-F-R player ranking by Browns career Approximate Value, which adjusts for differences in era and position, among other things. Sadly, it doesn’t include AAFC stats, which affects the franchise earliest greats, and it undercounts special teams.
Even so, Lou Groza tied Jim Brown at the top. He and Graham would’ve both exceeded Brown in career AV had their first four years been factored in.
I don’t have any serious complaints with the NFLN top 10, but all things considered, I think Graham should be at the top. The Toe should rank ahead of Oz for sure and probably Motley too.