In the aftermath following the disaster that was Johnny Manziel’s first start...
2014 NFL Draft: Cleveland Browns Need to Target These Wide Receivers on Day Three
As news of a possible Josh Gordon suspension swept over Cleveland Browns nation on the second day of the 2014 NFL Draft, analysts and fans alike thought the team would select at least one wide receiver. Instead, rounds two and three began and ended without a wide receiver being selected by general manager Ray Farmer.
With many questioning just what the Browns were doing by not addressing a position they were growing increasingly thinner at by the hour (ESPN announced Nate Burleson fractured his arm in mini-camp), the focus is now squarely on the final day of the draft. More importantly, with just two selections remaining at Nos. 127 (fourth round) and 218 (seventh round), is there anyone left in the draft who can make an impact at the receiver position for the Cleveland Browns?
Obviously with additional assets in next year’s draft a trade is always possible, but for the sake of this we are only going to look at five players—three available in the fourth round and two who may be available in the seventh round—who could possibly be drafted on the final day. Players taken in round seven shouldn’t even be in the conversation for a starting receiver position in year one, but this is the corner the Browns front office has painted itself into with the Gordon situation.
Standing 6’4” and 211 pounds, it is actually shocking that Bryant is on the board right now. Seemingly playing second fiddle to Sammy Watkins at Clemson, Bryant is a guy I actually compared to Gordon during the pre-draft process on more than one occasion. Not only does Bryant have elite level size, he also put up a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine and has very underrated acceleration for his size.
So why is a guy with those kind of numbers still available? That is a good question, though some point to the fact that he is a raw route-running prospect as the main reason he was not rated higher. Despite having very good hands and plucking the ball out of the air with ease, he also displays concentration issues from time to time. If Bryant is available when the Browns pick in the fourth round, they need to pull the trigger very quickly.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
Another player many expected to be gone by now, Abbrederis is one of the most refined route-runners in the entire NFL Draft. More than just the possession receiver he gets labeled as, Abbrederis displays deceptive speed despite running a 4.5 40-yard dash. He is also very good at creating separation, which is something the Browns will need desperately if Gordon is gone for a full year.
With all of these positives, the 6’1” and 195-pound Big Ten standout should be gone by now. However, teams seem to be gambling on players with more athletic upside and track speed—which are two things Abbrederis will never be confused as having.
For those of you who have followed for a while, you know Coleman has been a long man-crush of sorts. Standing 6’6” and 220 pounds, the Rutgers product has a fourth to fifth round grade on him. Everything about this young man reminds me of Chicago Bears standout, Alshon Jeffery. He has deceptive speed for his size, registering a 4.52 40-yard dash at the combine.
Coleman is huge, has a massive wingspan and would be an instant threat inside the redzone. However, some feel he is not physical enough and takes too long to get to the next level—hence his later round grade. Despite these things, this kid is very good at going up and snatching the ball out of the air and is also very good as a blocker—something that could grab the attention of those in the Browns organization.
Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane
A player initially graded in the mid rounds, it appears Grant has fallen down many draft boards to the seventh round level by some. While he will likely not be available, if Grant falls to the seventh round he is the type of player that could shock a lot of people early on in his career.
At 6’0” and 200 pounds, Grant does not have great speed (4.62 40-yard dash), but he catches pretty much everything thrown his way. He has excellent body control and is perfect for the slot role in the NFL.
Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley
Standing 6’3” and 220 pounds, Janis will probably go in round six. But just in case, you need to know a little bit more about this 4.37 40-yard dash speedster. Janis runs very good routes and has excellent acceleration, which will be beneficial in separating early at the line. He is also good at finding the ball in the air and gaining solid position on defenders, making it very difficult for him to be separated from the ball. On top of all of this, he is the anti-Gordon, meaning he is a high character guy with excellent leadership qualities.
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