2016 Cleveland Browns roster analysis: The wide receivers

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NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns
NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns /

The Cleveland Browns put a lot of stock into the wide receiver position in 2016, and some players surprised while other disappointed.

For years the Cleveland Browns have failed to supplement their quarterbacks with top-notch pass catchers. Since 1999 the team has only produced two Pro Bowl wide receivers, Braylon Edwards and Josh Gordon. The former first-round pick Edwards, was a one-year wonder in 2007 as he recorded 1,289 yards and hauled in 16 touchdowns. That was the only season in which he registered over 1,000-yard mark and double-digit touchdowns.

Josh Gordon, as we all know, has spent too much of his short career suspended. Gordon has a long list of baggage and his NFL career has been in serious jeopardy for some time. In 2013, his second pro season, Gordon posted record-breaking numbers. He led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,646. His totals were also good enough to become the Browns all time single-season receiving yards leader ahead of Braylon Edwards and Webster Slaughter.

The Browns entered last offseason with a major concern at the wide receiver position with the absence of the unreliable Josh Gordon. The team choose to address their need at the position by drafting Corey Coleman in the first round and then drafting three more receivers throughout the draft.

The biggest contribution came not from one of these rookies but from a surprise candidate in Terrelle Pryor. Pryor, the quarterback turned wide receiver, emerged as the offense’s top receiver in 2016. In his first full season playing receiver Pryor broke the 1,000 yard mark. The most impressive part is Pryor was in his first season playing the position and has room to improve.

Going into this 2017 offseason, wide receiver isn’t as high as a priority for the team with the emergence of Pryor and a group of young athletic wide receivers led by Corey Coleman.