In 2004, a Quarterback from Miami of Ohio by way of Lima, Ohio was on the board as Cleveland picked #6 overall. The Quarterback was Ben Roethlisberger, he had thrown for almost 11,000 yards in 3 years in college, thrown 80 TD passes and in his final year, he led the Redhawks to a MAC Championship and a 13-1 record.
Cleveland passed on Roethlisberger, instead signing veteran Jeff Garcia and drafting a weapon for the QB, tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.
Since 2004, Cleveland has used 11 starting QBs. Kellen Winslow played two games before he injured his leg costing him the rest of the season. In 2005, footage of Winslow driving a motorcycle recklessly and crashing led to another leg injury and another lost season. While Winslow was doing donuts on his Suzuki, Big Ben was leading the hated Steelers to a Super Bowl XL victory. The moment the crash footage was released, was the moment Winslow was done in Cleveland, the locals just got their team back, and they did not care for a player who didn't care about playing for the Browns.
Winslow returned and had two great seasons in 2006 and 2007, with 171 receptions for 1,981 yards and 8 TDs. After another disappointing 4-12 season in 2006, the Browns finished 10-6 in 2007, but they missed the playoffs in a incredibly competitive year. A major reason was the Browns were swept in their season series against Pittsburgh, who at 10-6 won the AFC North via that tiebreaker.
Big Ben has a career record of 95-47, two Super Bowl wins, over 34,000 yards passing and 219 TD passes. The Browns have nothing, with a record of 51-109 since the 2004 draft and still searching for the franchise QB after they let their hometown hero slip away.
In the upcoming draft, Khalil Mack is slated to be a top 10 pick and the UB star could be on the board at #9 when the Buffalo Bills pick. The Bills, like the 2004 Browns, have eliminated the need for a LB in the draft by signing veterans Keith Rivers and Brandon Spikes in free agency and are likely to pass on Mack if he is available. However the Ben Roethlisberger story serves as a warning that the Bills should seriously consider taking Mack at #9.
Sorry to pick on you Cleveland, if it makes you feel any better, I'm a Bills fan and the Bills traded a 1st round pick to draft JP Losman in 2004. We are brothers on the I-90 corridor of football sadness.