Would Robert Mathis have become Robert Mathis if the Browns drafted him?

Robert Mathis has logged over 100 sacks for the Indianapolis Colts in his career, but what if he'd been a member of the Cleveland Browns? Would he have ever become the same player? We'll never know for sure, but I wish we could have found out.

According to Mathis himself, he very nearly was drafted by the Browns back in 2003. That was the draft after Butch Davis’ Browns made the playoffs. Mathis had reason to think the Browns might have drafted him in the fourth round because they even called Mathis ahead of their pick. Ultimately they took Lee Suggs. Mathis slid to the fifth where the Colts grabbed him with pick 138 overall. Mathis posted on his Instagram.

This actually almost happened in the 4th round of the 2003 Draft. They brought me on a visit, then draft day they called and told me they were taking me w/ their next pick but chose not to. (Saaaaulted) But God had a plan in the th round and GOD IS GOOD! #ColtForLife .. Tell the rest in book in near future. #GradyBaby2MadeMan

What likely happened is that the Browns really wanted Lee Suggs and thought they might have a chance to grab Mathis in the fifth round. As I stated above, the Colts grabbed Mathis with pick 138 and the Browns had 142. You really don't want to get into the re-drafting and trying to figure out what could have been in the draft because it’s the definition of hindsight. However, Mathis said this was a possibility and close to happening. So who did the Browns take with their pick after Mathis was off the board?

Ryan Pontbriand, the long snapper. It’s really hard to imagine the Browns chose 1,000 yards over four years of rushing from Lee Suggs and a pretty darn good long snapper over Robert Mathis, especially when they were so close to pulling the trigger on the iconic Colts pass rusher. And he is seriously iconic when you consider that he now has more sacks than the more well-known Dwight Freeney.


Originally published at www.waitingfornextyear.com on November 28, 2015.