When you’re the Cleveland Browns, you need all the talent that you can get. Even if the Browns are improving like most fans and some analysts say, they’re still a couple of years away. Last year, they went 1-15, narrowly avoiding perfect imperfection. But one of the players that actually helped them stay in some games last year was their number one receiver, Terrelle Pryor. However, Pryor left for the Washington Redskins in free agency this year. So, who’s there to fill his shoes? Well, somewhat surprisingly, the best choice to replace Pryor might be Rashard Higgins.
Rashard Higgins is Ready to Break Out
Size and Speed
Throughout the past few years, the Browns have had this really bad habit of having incredibly small receivers. While they might be serviceable receivers in their own right, it doesn’t help the roster’s diversity or unpredictability. However, this is not the case with Rashard Higgins. Standing at 6’2″, Higgins was one of the tallest receivers on the roster last year, behind Pryor and Ricardo Louis.
Unlike most bigger receivers, however, “Hollywood” Higgins has great hands. Maybe not the hands of someone like Odell Beckham, but still incredible hands for a big receiver. Additionally, his 4.6 40-yard dash speed is pretty great for someone of his height. He might not be the fastest guy on the field, but he can still burn some defenders. That combination makes him a likely candidate to break out for the Browns this year.
No doubt, the name Antonio Brown will ring a bell for Browns fans. According to most analysts around, he runs the cleanest routes in the entire NFL. Well, Higgins might not be Brown, but he sure does run some clean routes. Again, for someone his size, these routes are very impressive. And Higgins dwarfs Brown by about four inches. Now, that’s not to say that Higgins is a better player. Not by any means. However, his route running is nearly reminiscent of Brown.
One of the most important things to look for in a number one receiver is prior experience of being a number one receiver. And Rashard Higgins has that kind of experience in total spades. While playing at the relatively small program of Colorado State, Higgins was easily the best player on the team. In addition to just being…well, the best, he also lost his quarterback midway through his sophomore season. So needless to say, Higgins has a background in playing with inexperienced quarterbacks, like DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler.
At the end of the day, making a case for Rashard Higgins having a breakout season in 2017 is actually pretty easy. First off, and possibly most importantly, he has all the physical tools to get the job done in the NFL. He’s strong, fast, and runs some of the cleanest routes you’ll ever see. Finally, he has all the experience in the world of being a team’s most reliable receiving option. Higgins is able to work with even the most inexperienced of quarterbacks and help them to grow. The Browns selected Higgins in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Now, they could be looking at the steal of the draft class.
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