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Cleveland Browns NFL Draft Watch: Clemson Tigers WR Martavis Bryant is a Player to Watch
When you mention the Cleveland Browns drafting a Clemson Tigers wide receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft, the first name that comes to mind is future Top 10 draft pick, Sammy Watkins. While Watkins could certainly be in the Browns first-round draft plans, fans should pay attention to his teammate, Martavis Bryant.
Following in Watkins’ footsteps by leaving after his junior season, the 6’5” and 200-pound wide receiver has all the upside in the world at the next level. Taking advantage of Watkins receiving all the attention, Bryant hauled in 42 receptions for 828 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. For his career, Bryant finished with 61 receptions for 1,354 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Thanks to his game-breaking speed (rumored to have run as low as a 4.38 40-yard dash), Bryant has a flare for big plays. In his sophomore season at Clemson, he caught just 10 passes yet racked up an incredible 305 yards and four touchdowns. Obviously his 10 receptions weren’t enough to put him in national consideration, but his 30.5 yards per catch is an absolutely incredible number.
When you watch Bryant’s game film, the first thing that stands out is his size and arm length. He has the ability to go up and snatch the ball from all defenders thanks to his height and wingspan. Being just 200 pounds, he will have to bulk up at the NFL level to be more of a physical specimen, as more physical defensive backs will likely try to jam him at the line to push him off his route.
In regard to his speed, he is a long strider who has the acceleration to get to the next level rather quickly. As Browns fans have seen with Josh Gordon, he just has another gear when he gets the ball in space to pull away from defenders. He may not seem like it at first, but those long strides make his speed all that much more deceptive.
Another aspect of his game that fans will really like is his ability to catch the ball with his hands away from his body. Thanks to his size and arm length, he can really pluck the ball out of the air. I did see the occasional drop, but more often than not it was because he was attempting to turn up the field and run with the ball, not an issue of poor hands.
In terms of running routes, he seems to have good burst and quick cut ability. However, he wasn’t asked to run a wide variety of different routes at Clemson, so his route tree will need a lot of work at the NFL level. When you combine his route tree with the occasional concentration issue when turning up the field, you will find teams hesitant to use a first-round pick on him.
For this reason, Bryant projects perfectly in the third round for the Cleveland Browns. There is always the possibility someone could take a chance on him in round two, but if he is there in the third the Browns should snatch him up.
Thanks to his ability to be a big, vertical threat opposite Gordon, the Browns passing attack would get that much more dangerous in 2014. With Gordon and Bryant on the outside, a drafted slot receiver and Jordan Cameron working the middle, this team could become an offensive juggernaut rather quickly with the right quarterback and an offensive coordinator willing to adapt the offense to all of his playmakers. And that would be a welcome change from the stagnant offenses on display in Cleveland over the past few seasons.
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