Taylor Gabriel Named Browns 3rd Receiver


The Cleveland Browns receiving situation will be the talk of the Browns faithful for most of the year likely. Josh Gordon‘s possible early return from suspension, very unlikely, wouldn’t change that much. The Browns are planning to start veteran Miles Austin and shifty Andrew Hawkins, both off-season additions, Sunday at receiver.

Who would play the third receiver role was up in the air. Would Travis Benjamin, who stretches the field from the outside or newcomer LaRon Byrd be able to lock down the role? Our answer is in courtesy of Kyle Shanahan in Pat McManamon’s most recent article on ESPN, Taylor Gabriel:

"Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Taylor Gabriel would be the team’s third receiver, behind Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin. He said Hawkins played only in the slot when he was in Cincinnati, but has been used inside and out since he joined the Browns in March. Gabriel is an undrafted rookie free agent."

Gabriel is a rookie out of Abilene Christian who went undrafted this year. Gabriel, like Hawkins, is seen as more of a slot receiver but Shanahan likes to use his receivers with creative splits to get them open in space. The Browns could lineup with all of their players inside, or nearly inside, the hashes. This can create release points for Gabriel and Hawkins as well as protect right tackle Mitchell Schwartz with setting the edge.

Gabriel has sure hands, runs good routes and goes from catch to run after the catch quickly. He will stick his nose in over the middle but his size creates some injury risk in doing so. Last year at Abilene Christian Gabriel accumulated 73 receptions for 1,060 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had long receptions of 75 and 71 yards showing off his big play ability after the catch.

Gabriel and Hawkins could cause trouble in the redzone with their short space quickness. Using either out of the backfield, along with Benjamin, could help create space for them to get outside interior defenders as well. He doesn’t add size, as he along with the rest of the receivers outside newly acquired Byrd, are all small. It will be up to Shanahan to minimize this weakness.

What do you think of Gabriel as the Browns 3rd receiver?