Michael Woods

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/1/23

The first minor transactions of December:

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Long gets waived from the Panthers’ roster just a week after starting for them against the Titans. Long, who was claimed off of waivers about a month ago, has not been a regular starter in Carolina but was forced into action due to the injury absences of C.J. Henderson and Jaycee Horn. With both players nearing their return, and the recent waiver claim of Shaquill Griffin, the Panthers decided to bring up Strachan instead holding onto Long. The big-bodied receiver had one catch for 45 yards as a practice squad callup earlier this year.

Woods has received a six-game suspension for an incident that took place this summer in which he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Woods has already missed the entire season up until now on the reserve/non-football injury list after tearing his Achilles tendon back in April. While the Browns hoped for the possibility of a late-season return, this newest development guarantees that Woods will miss the entire 2023-24 season.

Browns Trim Roster To 53

The Browns found a new kicker today, but on roster deadline day, that obviously wasn’t their only move. The organization made a number of cuts to get to the 53-man roster limit:



Placed on reserve/NFI:

At one point, Demetric Felton looked like he could be a worthy backup to Nick Chubb, but the versatile offensive weapon has fallen down the depth chart. The former sixth-round pick had an okay rookie season in 2021, finishing with 205 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. However, he was limited to only three touches in eight games last season.

Kellen Mond seemed like a long shot to make the roster, and the Browns ultimately decided to role with only two quarterbacks in Deshaun Watson and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mond has only gotten into one regular season game, completing two passes for the Vikings in 2021.

Latest On Browns’ WR Corps

There is a lot of confidence around the Browns’ roster heading into the 2023 season. One of the positions of interest, though, is the wide receivers group. Highly dependent on the production of its top two wideouts last year, Cleveland will be paying close attention to the availability of Amari Cooper and the development of other receivers.

Luckily, after offseason surgery for a core muscle injury that had Cooper limping into the offseason, there are reportedly “no concerns from either Cooper or the Browns that he won’t be ready to go for training camp,” according to Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal. Even with the injury, Cooper delivered a team-leading 78 receptions for 1,160 yards and nine receiving touchdowns. Finally able to have an opportunity to build a rapport in camp with quarterback Deshaun Watson should set Cooper up for a strong second year in Cleveland.

The other top receiving performance for the team last season came via a bit of a breakout year for third-year receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. The former sixth-round pick recorded career-highs in receptions (61) and receiving yards (839) while also matching his career-high total in touchdowns (3). If Peoples-Jones can take the next step forward in his development in 2023, the Browns could end up with three extremely capable receiving options for Watson in Cooper, Peoples-Jones, and tight end David Njoku.

Following Cooper and Peoples-Jones, the experienced depth disappears and the Browns begin to rely on young players to produce. The first player the Browns will look to is offseason trade acquisition Elijah Moore. After two years with the Jets that contained several hit-or-miss performances, Cleveland will be hoping for a bit more consistency from Moore this year. They can expect him to produce around 500 receiving yards, considering he’s delivered similar numbers in each of his two previous seasons, but if Moore, too, can take a step forward, the Browns’ top three wideouts can be dangerous. The versatility of Cooper and Peoples-Jones combined with the speed of Moore can provide Watson with a diverse set of primary weapons.

A trio of receivers will look to be top contributors behind those three. Free agent addition Marquise Goodwin, second-year receiver David Bell, and third-round rookie Cedric Tillman will all be vying to prove they can contribute in limited opportunities. Bell could find himself on the roster bubble after a disappointing rookie season, but it seems unlikely that they would release the former third-round pick after only one year.

If the Browns only decide to take six receivers on the roster into 2023, Bell will be competing for the sixth spot with veteran Jakeem Grant and Jaelon Darden. Neither Grant nor Darden are likely to add much on offense, but their abilities in the return game could allow Cleveland to trot someone other than Peoples-Jones out there for returns. If the team would prefer the possible offense Bell could add, they could continue utilizing Peoples-Jones in the return game.

This leaves another third-round pick, Anthony Schwartz, in danger of being waived. Over two years, Schwartz has only caught 14 passes for 186 yards and one touchdown. He contributed on kick returns as a rookie, but with others who can fill that role, that doesn’t help his case much. Other receivers Ra’Shaun Henry, Mike Harley Jr., and Daylen Baldwin all face long odds to make the 53-man roster, while last year’s sixth-round pick, Michael Woods II, is expected to miss the entire season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in April.

The Browns will have a few tough decisions to make when deciding just how many receivers to keep going into 2023, but they should feel confident about the weapons they have leading the group. With Cooper expected back healthy and Peoples-Jones and Moore hoping to continue their development, the Browns could be providing Watson with a talented top group of targets.

Browns WR Michael Woods Tears Achilles

10:44am: The Browns have confirmed the injury, and the team is not expecting — as of now — a late-season return to commence. A Browns statement indicated Woods is likely to miss all of the 2023 season.

8:59am: Although OTAs have not yet begun, the Browns’ receiving corps sustained a setback. Second-year wideout Michael Woods suffered a torn Achilles during an independent workout, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports.

The injury occurred during a recent workout with Deshaun Watson in Texas, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who initially reported the team feared this significant injury (Twitter link). This will threaten to end Woods’ season months before it would have begun, though it occurring at this juncture of the offseason opens the door to a return later in the year. Watson has been hosting teammates for workouts near his home in Houston, Cabot adds.

The Browns drafted Woods in the sixth round last year. The 6-foot-1 target saw action on 23% of Cleveland’s offensive snaps, logging 155 as a rookie. He was on the field for 36% of the Browns’ special teams plays. Woods caught five passes for 45 yards during his first NFL season. While he would have been ticketed for a backup role again next season, Cabot adds the Browns were pleased with his progress thus far. This certainly represents a blow to the Day 3 draftee’s development.

Cleveland selected Woods 202nd overall last year. The 23-year-old pass catcher played three seasons at Arkansas before transferring to Oklahoma ahead of his senior season. He teamed with Treylon Burks on the Razorbacks in 2020, posting a career-high 619 receiving yards (19.3 per catch) and five touchdowns.

Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and trade acquisition Elijah Moore are positioned to be Watson’s top targets next season. The team also has former third-rounders Anthony Schwartz and David Bell on the roster. Woods will likely head to the NFI list once training camp begins. Placement on the reserve/NFI list to start the regular season will mean at least four missed games. An Achilles timetable will likely run longer.