Nov 16, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (16) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
While the offensive line will look familiar to fans, the same cannot be said of the wide receiver group.
Hawkins is a PFF favorite, pulling in the highest grade among the receivers with a High Quality mark. According to the site:
"Andrew Hawkins is the Browns best skill position player at this point, and underrated by many even as a slot receiver. Our 11th highest graded receiver in 2014, Hawkins forced 11 missed tackles and averaged 6.4 yards after the catch. The type of receiver where it’s important to find ways to put the football in his hands, he can be a major asset for the Browns out of the slot in 2015."
Things fall off pretty quickly, though, with Hartline, Bowe, Benjamin and Gabriel all earning Average grades, with the rest of the receiving group checking in at Below Average, Rookie or Not Enough Info.
“There’s not really any what-if,” Hawkins told the team’s website. “Hartline’s been in the league a long time. Dwayne Bowe has done it in this league a long time. These guys are coming out here and practicing and they’re pros. You couldn’t have made two better additions to this team. There’s pressure on all of us, which is a good thing. We still have a lot to prove. That’s a good situation to be in. Once the season rolls around, we’ll have to keep this going.”
There are certainly no superstars among the group, but they may collectively be better than their numbers from last season would indicate – especially with the increased competition driving everyone to be better.
But having said that, the receivers – especially Bowe and Hartline – have to show that their down seasons in 2014 were just off years, rather than the beginning of the end of their days as productive wide receivers.
Next: Tight Ends