Cleveland Browns: Three players that could surprise in 2018
By Dan Justik
Rashard Higgins – Wide Reciever
After not playing much his rookie season, Rashard Higgins had much more of an impact in 2017. Last season for the Browns, he recorded 27 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns.
Although those are numbers that do not stick out, it showed that Higgins has talent that can be used in the NFL. The real reason why he can have a surprise season in 2018 is because of Todd Haley and the new offense.
With the trade and large extension for Jarvis Landry and the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor, it appears Cleveland will be transitioning away from a vertical offense. Haley has said he likes to tailor his offense to his players. With Taylor and Landry, it seems that an offense more comparable to a West Coast offense would be the best fit.
Landry lives off short to intermediate throws while Taylor makes smart decisions and does not force deep throws just to take chances. For Haley, it may be better for him to tailor an offense to match those talents than try to force them to fit into a vertical offense.
The reason why that is a big deal for Higgins is, like Landry, he is better as a short to intermediate receiver instead of a vertical threat. He does not have the speed to create separation so he uses strong route running to do that.
There will be competition for the number three receiver job for the Browns. Although he has a large group of receivers to beat for the job, Higgins could feel comfortable in the new scheme and adjust better than the other receivers.
Next: Can Carlos Hyde rush for 1,000 yards in 2018?
However, if Haley’s offense remains a vertical offense, Higgins will not fit well into the scheme and his roster spot could be in trouble.