The Cleveland Browns wide receivers corps bring back two starters from 2019 in Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Also returning is a fan and Baker Mayfield favorite, Rashard Higgins, who recently resigned with the team. Other returning faces include KhaDarel Hodge, Damion Ratley, J’Mon Moore, D.J. Montgomery, and Taywan Taylor. New faces to the group include sixth-round draft pick Donovan Peoples-Jones, JoJo Natson, Tony Brown, and Ja’Marcus Bradley.
That’s a group of 12 receivers vying for between four and six positions on an offense that loves to feature multiple tight end sets, meaning earning a roster spot at receiver is scarce. Assuming the top two slots are locked with Beckham and Landry, nine receivers are fighting for the remaining three to four positions.
It will be a fierce competition in camp to see which receivers claim the final spots and this article provides a rundown to which receivers have the best opportunity to make an impact in camp and earn a spot on the roster.
Meet the Cleveland Browns Wide Receivers
The Top Two: Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry
College teammates and now NFL teammates, best friends Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry figure to be the one and two receivers. Beckham will serve as the big-play threat while Landry keeps his role as a possession receiver with some of the most reliable hands in the game.
In 2019, Landry recorded 83 receptions for 1,174 yards and a 14.1 yards per reception average, setting career highs in the latter two areas. He also recorded six touchdown passes and earned his fifth trip to the Pro Bowl.
Beckham’s season was poor for his standards but solid to NFL standards as he amassed 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and averaged 14 yards per reception. He caught four touchdown receptions in 2019. His statistics were lower, but reports revealed he’d spent the season battling sports hernia.
Projected Three and Four: Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones
After logging 39 receptions in 2018, Rashard Higgins fell from grade and recorded just four receptions in 2019. It was unclear whether he’d return to the Cleveland Browns wide receivers room but in late-April he returned to the Browns on a one-year deal. His prior production with Baker Mayfield made him a fan favorite in 2018, but injuries and clashes with then-coach Freddie Kitchens set him up for a rocky 2019.
Sixth-round pick Donovan Peoples-Jones looks to be the boom or bust prospect but his draft status garners him first dibs at snagging the fourth receiver spot if he produces well in training camp. Peoples-Jones logged average production in college with just 34 receptions in 2019 while playing for the Michigan Wolverines but at 6’2, 212lbs, he provides a big target for the Browns if he performs.
Outside Looking In: Damion Ratley and KhaDarel Hodge
Ratley and Hodge return to the Browns and Ratley enters the 2020 season with a leg up on Hodge. While he hasn’t produced outstanding numbers, Ratley recorded 12 receptions in 2019 for 16.7 yards per reception. He enters his third season with the Browns and has played just well enough since his rookie season in 2018 to garner another look.
Hodge had four catches for 76 yards in 2019 and he also played special teams, logging 13 tackles. His special teams experience may give him an edge to win a roster spot in camp but he must prove he’s capable of producing better numbers at receiver if he hopes to stick around. Given his special teams play, there’s a spot for Hodge somewhere on an NFL roster.
Fringe Prospects: JoJo Natson, J’Mon Moore, Taywan Taylor, D.J. Montgomery
If Natson makes the team in 2020, it will be as a return specialist. Natson is small, and he’ll remind old school fans of Gerald McNeil. While the same height, Natson is listed at 153lbs, and McNeil played at 147lbs. He’s shown decent but not breathtaking return skills throughout his career.
Taywan Taylor is a longshot to make the roster. While he recorded 37 receptions and a touchdown with the Tennessee Titans in 2018 he only appeared three games in 2019, logging zero receptions. Taylor was a third-round pick for the Titans in 2017 and given his moderate production in 2017 and 2018, it won’t be surprising if this longshot sneaks up and claims a roster spot.
J’Mon Moore spent time on the Browns’ practice squad in 2019 and before that he was a member of the Green Bay Packers. He has two career NFL receptions. He’ll audition for a roster spot with the Browns but he’ll be looking to impress all 32 teams.
D.J. Montgomery first signed with the Browns in 2019 as an undrafted free agent. He has yet to play a down in the regular season. He must prove himself to earn a roster spot come September and he’s another player looking to impress all 32 teams in camp.
Undrafted Rookies in Camp
Ja’Marcus Bradley logged 60 receptions and 10 touchdowns in 2019 as a member of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. The 6’1, 194lb Bradley has his work cut out for him as he battles for a roster spot that will carry a limited number of spots at wide receiver.
Former Cleveland Brown Darrin Chiaverini coached Tony Brown in during his college career at Colorado. He caught 56 passes for five touchdowns in 2019 as a member of the Buffaloes. Like Bradley, he faces an uphill battle in camp.
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