The Cleveland Browns had two first round picks in the 1978 NFL draft. They used the 12th overall pick on Clay Matthews and traded away the 20th overall pick. The Los Angeles Rams were eager and traded the 23rd overall pick and a fourth rounder to move up in the draft. The Browns ended up selecting Ozzie Newsome, wide receiver from Alabama.
Newsome gained some weight to convert into a tight end and changed the NFL game forever. He possesses the size and strength to block, but he was also athletic enough run routes and catch passes. Tight ends weren’t really utilized in the passing game until Ozzie came along. He was a matchup nightmare for defenses because he was too big for defensive backs and too quick for linebackers.
Newsome spent his whole career (13 seasons) in Cleveland and is well accomplished. In addition to changing the tight end position, he was the first rookie in 25 years to be named the Browns Offensive Player of the Year. He was apart of the Kardiac Kids that won the AFC Central in 1980 and became a three-time Pro Bowler (1981, 1984, 1985). The Wizard of Oz won the Ed Block Courage Award for playing through injuries in 1986 and the Byron “Whizzer” White NFL Man of the Year Award for community service in 1990.
Not only was he an award winner, but also a record setter. Newsome is currently the Browns’ all-time leader in receptions (662) and receiving yards (7,980). He is also fifth in touchdowns with 47 under his belt. He previously held the franchise record for yards in a game with 191 yards that lasted for 29 years until 2013 when Josh Gordon broke it with 237 and then 261 yards in consecutive games. Ozzie Newsome had a glorious career that landed him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1999.
If you have never seen him play or any of his highlights check out this video from NFL Films: