The Cleveland Browns joined the National Football League (NFL) in 1950 with the Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers after having spent four seasons with the All-America Football Conference. The Browns' first selection as an NFL team was Ken Carpenter, a wide receiver from Oregon State. The team's most recent first round selections were Trent Richardson, a running back from the University of Alabama and Brandon Weeden, a quarterback from Oklahoma State University.
Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in inverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first, and the second worst picking second and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades.
The Browns did not have any draft choices from 1996 to 1998, because then-owner Art Modell took all the team's players to Baltimore, Maryland, effectively stopping the franchise. However, the NFL mandated that the Browns' name, colors, and franchise history remain in Cleveland and that the team would reactivate by 1999. In 1999, the Browns selected number one overall, drafting University of Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch.
The Browns have selected number one overall three times: Bobby Garrett, Tim Couch, and Courtney Brown. The team has also selected number two overall only once and number three overall five times. The Browns have selected players from the University of Michigan five times, the University of Southern California four times, and the University of Florida and Ohio State University three times. Four eventual Hall of Famers were selected by the Browns: Doug Atkins, Jim Brown, Paul Warfield, and Ozzie Newsome.
|Selected number one overall *||Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame †|
- The Browns acquired their first pick in 1952 from Detroit for E/T Jim Martin.
- Harry Agganis did not take a snap for the Browns in the NFL, opting instead to play professional baseball for the Boston Red Sox as the team's starting first baseman.
- The Browns first pick in 1954 was a bonus lottery choice.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1961 to Dallas for T Paul Dickson and the Cowboys' first pick in 1962. The Browns acquired another pick from Detroit along with LB Robert Long for QB Jim Ninowski.
- The Browns acquired their first pick in 1962 from Dallas along with T Paul Dickson for the Browns' first pick in 1961.
- The Browns traded the rights to Jackson to Washington for the Redskins' rights to Ernie Davis. Davis was later diagnosed with leukemia and died before playing a game with the Browns.
- The Browns first pick in 1965 was traded to San Francisco for G Ted Connolly.
- The Browns acquired their first pick in 1970 from Miami for WR Paul Warfield.
- The Browns acquired their first pick in 1973 from New York along with the Giants' second choice (acquired from New England) for DE Jack Gregory and CB Freddie Summers.
- The Browns' first pick in 1974 was traded to San Diego along with the Browns' second pick in 1975 for LB Bob Babich and the Chargers' fourth pick in 1975.
- The Browns' acquired their second pick in 1978 from Los Angeles along with Washington's fourth pick (acquired from Washington through Chicago for the Bears' first pick) for QB Mike Phipps.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1979 to San Diego for the Chargers' first and second picks.
- The Browns traded their first and New England's sixth pick (acquired from New England) to Los Angeles for the Rams' first and fourth picks plus San Diego's second and Green Bay's fifth (acquired from San Diego and Green Bay respectively) picks.
- The Browns' first pick in 1983 was traded to Buffalo along with the Browns' third pick in 1984 and fifth pick in 1985 for LB Tom Cousineau.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1985 to Buffalo along with the Browns' third pick and the Browns' first and sixth picks in 1986 for Buffalo's first pick in the 1985 supplemental draft.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1986 to Buffalo along with the Browns' sixth pick and the Browns first and third picks from 1985 for Buffalo's first pick in the 1985 supplemental draft.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1987 to San Diego along with Browns' second pick and LB Chip Banks for San Diego's first and second picks.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1988 to Denver along with the Browns' second, fifth and ninth picks for the Broncos' first pick.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1990 to Green Bay along with the Browns' third and fifth picks in 1989 and RB Herman Fontenot for the Packers' second pick and fifth pick in 1989.
- The Browns acquired their first pick in 1993 from Denver along with the Broncos' third pick for the Browns' first pick.
- The Browns acquired their second pick in 1994 from Philadelphia for the Browns' third pick and the Browns' second pick in the 1995 draft.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 1995 to San Francisco for the 49ers' first and fourth picks and the 49ers' first pick in the 1996 draft.
- The Browns won this pick via a coin flip against Atlanta.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 2004 to Detroit along with the Browns' second pick for the Lions' first pick.
- The Browns traded their first pick in 2006 to Baltimore for the Ravens' first pick.
- The Browns won this pick via a coin toss against Tampa Bay.
- The Browns traded their second-round pick in 2007 and first-round pick in 2008 to Dallas for their first-round pick in 2007.
- Cleveland traded down three times in the first round, sending the fifth overall pick to the Jets (who used it to select Mark Sanchez), and then traded down two more times (with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia) before selecting Alex Mack with the 21st overall pick.
Grossi, Tony (2009-04-25). "Cleveland Browns get more picks (and more Jets) on a busy opening day in NFL draft". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio). http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2009/04/cleveland_browns_get_more_pick.html. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- Alder, James. "NFL Draft Basics:Determining Order of Selection". football.about.com. http://football.about.com/od/miscinformation/a/detdraftorder.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-21.
- "Harry Agganis, The Golden Greek". Agganis Arena, Boston University. http://www.agganisarena.com/about/arena/harry.html. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
- "History: Cleveland Browns Draft History". Cleveland Browns official Web site. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20061021073704/http://www.clevelandbrowns.com/team/history/history.php. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- "databaseFootball.com – Cleveland Browns". databaseFootball.com. http://www.databasefootball.com/teams/teampage.htm?tm=cle&lg=nfl. Retrieved 2007-04-06.
- "Browns win coin flip, pick 16th". National Football League official Web site. Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20070108102603/http://www.nfl.com/ce/multi/0,3783,5149207,00.html. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- "Browns win coin toss, third pick in draft". National Football League official Web site. Archived from the original on 2007-03-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20070321022251/http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/CLE/10017253. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- "Draft History – Cleveland Browns". National Football League official Web site. http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/teambyteam?team=Cleveland+Browns. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "Hall of Famers by Franchise". Pro Football Hall of Fame official Web site. Archived from the original on 2007-03-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20070317093424/http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/teams.html. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
- "Cleveland Browns". Sports E-cyclopedia. http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nfl/clev/browns.html. Retrieved 2007-04-07.
|Lists of NFL first-round draft picks by team|
|American Football Conference|
|AFC East||AFC North||AFC South||AFC West|
|National Football Conference|
|NFC East||NFC North||NFC South||NFC West|