The Browns had a big challenge as they prepared for their first NFL Draft on Jan. 21, 1950.
They had joined the league only a month before and would begin play in that 1950 season. They had won all four championships in the All-America Football Conference from 1946-49, being so good, in fact, that they put the league out of business by making it non-competitive. In 1948, for instance, they were a perfect 15-0, and their overall four-year mark was a staggering 52-4-3 for a .907 winning percentage.
That 1950 squad had seven players who would go on to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and several others, like wide receiver Mac Speedie, cornerbacks Tommy James and Warren Lahr, wingback Dub Jones and punter Horace Gillom, who were outstanding as well.
So, with 33-man roster limits, there wasn’t much room for anyone else.
The trick, then, for Paul Brown, head coach and general manager of the Browns, was to find players in the draft who could simply make the team.
But Brown did even better than that by finding two players who could also make notable contributions in first-rounder Ken Carpenter, a running back/returner from Oregon, and second-rounder John Sandusky, a right tackle from Villanova.
Carpenter played for the Browns for four years (1950-53) and rushed 242 times for 1,186 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 5.0 yards a carry. He also caught 42 passes for 473 yards and five scores, averaged 10.9 yards on 34 punt returns and scored once, and averaged 21.8 yards on 41 kickoff returns.
Carpenter was one of three men with that last name who played running back for the Browns in that general era. Lew Carpenter was here in 1957 and ’58 and younger brother Preston played from 1957-59.
Sandusky played for Cleveland for six seasons (1950-55) and was the starter from 1952-54, being a member of a line that included two Hall of Famers in left tackle Lou Groza and center Frank Gatski.
Sandusky’s son, Gerry Sandusky, is the radio play-by-play announcer for the Browns’ rivals in the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens.
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