Latest On Browns’ WR Corps

Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will be throwing to a lot of the same targets in 2024 that he did last year, but the single addition of a player like Jerry Jeudy largely changes the outlook of that group. The acquisition of Jeudy solidifies Cleveland’s starting group, but some questions still remain further down the depth chart.

Amari Cooper did Amari Cooper things last year, and though he only reached the endzone five times, he put up a career high in receiving yards with 1,250. Former Jets second-round pick Elijah Moore benefitted from a change of scenery last year. Like Cooper, Moore put up a career-high 640 yards, though he only scored twice. Then, the room adds Jeudy, who has mostly failed to live up to his first-round draft stock over his four-year stint in Denver. His best year saw him catch 67 passes for 972 yards and six touchdowns, and if he can reach those peaks again, the top line of the receiving corps is in good shape.

Behind the likely starters, Cedric Tillman, David Bell, and James Proche return from last year. All three players were given opportunities to start following the trade of Donovan Peoples-Jones, but it was the rookie, Tillman, who showed the most growth and promise near the end of the year. According to Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal, those efforts and a strong spring in the absence of Cooper and Jeudy have likely secured Tillman in the WR4 position.

Bell and Proche, on the other hand, will likely join Michael Woods and rookie fifth-round pick Jamari Thrash, among a number of other names, for the remaining roster spots. Bell is likely safe. Though his yardage and target shares decreased last year from his rookie season, Bell finished second in the room last year with three touchdowns. Proche didn’t have any catches in 10 games with the team last year but became the team’s primary punt returner after the departure of Peoples-Jones. Proche’s special teams prowess helps his case, but he may need to show more on offense to earn a roster spot this year.

Thrash is perhaps the next most likely to keep a job as a recent draft pick. After a stellar 2022 campaign with Georgia State that saw him catch 61 balls for 1,122 yards and seven scores, Thrash transferred to Louisville and led the team by far in receptions (63), receiving yards (858), and receiving touchdowns (6). Woods, a sixth-round pick from 2022, faces longer odds after missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon and receiving a six-game suspension for personal conduct. Behind them, players like Jaelon Darden, Jalen Camp, Matt Landers, and Ahmarean Brown make up the rest of the room competing for roster spots.

With Cooper, Jeudy, and Moore locked in as starters and Tillman seemingly the favorite as the first off the bench, there’s a remaining one to three spots on the roster, depending on the team’s preferences. A combination of Bell, Proche, and Thrash feels like the most likely outcome, but strong training camp performances from any of the others, or poor camps from any of those three, have the potential to shake things up a bit in Cleveland.

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