The 2019 Senior Bowl featured multiple under-the-radar wide receivers emerging, showing that the Cleveland Browns can wait for a wide receiver in the draft.
Depending on who you ask, some see wide receiver being one of the biggest needs the Cleveland Browns have to address this off-season. There are also others that believe the Browns wide receiver corps is already good enough for the 2019 season.
For those that feel the Browns need to add a wide receiver, they believe the answer for the pass-catching problem will come through the draft. Although there is not a surefire player that will qualify as a No. 1 receiver in this draft class, there are some solid options at the top of the draft: K’Neal Harry, Hakeem Butler, or Marquise Brown.
With the 17th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, there is a good chance that all three of those wide receivers could be available when the Browns are put on the clock. But based on the team’s other needs and potential availability of wide receivers in the middle rounds of the draft, the Browns should opt to wait to select a wide receiver.
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Although the three previously mentioned wide receivers would be solid additions, the mid-round wide receiver talent will not have a huge drop-off in talent. The 2019 Senior Bowl proved that on Saturday.
One of the biggest stories from the Senior Bowl was how wide receivers that are considered under-the-radar talent in the draft class showed their abilities. Andy Isabella, Deebo Samuel, and Terry McLaurin all massively improved their draft stock after their week in Mobile, Alabama.
All three players showed strong route running, creating separation as soon as they break from their routes. Isabella and McLaurin used their top-notch speed to become vertical threats, regularly burning past cornerbacks for easy touchdowns. And Samuel used his physicality and strong hands to work through contact and make plays.
All three receivers will likely be mid-round picks, although Isabella and Samuel could make themselves early second round picks after their performances. Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller mentioned that Samuel could be a late first round pick after his strong week.
"His comparison is Stefon Diggs, as both have a thick body, quickness in space and tough hands in traffic. He could be a late first- or early second-round pick thanks to a strong Senior Bowl week. – Matt Miller"
There were also several other wide receivers that raised some eyebrows during their week at the Senior Bowl, such as Keelan Doss, Hunter Renfrow and Penny Hart. They may not have had as good of weeks as the three previously mentioned receivers, but they definitely helped themselves. But in the case of the Browns, it shows that there will be talented wide receivers available in the middle-rounds.
With the way that Baker Mayfield uses his weapons, the Browns do not necessarily need to have a No. 1 wide receiver for 2019 – even though they are paying Jarvis Landry like a No. 1 receiver. Mayfield loves to distribute the ball to multiple targets instead of focusing on one player for an entire game. So it would make sense to find a receiver in the draft that fits their system instead of drafting a receiver just to make him the No. 1 receiver.
When the NFL Combine rolls around in late February, there will be even more middle-round wide receivers that make their case to be drafted higher. As the off-season continues, the Browns will have more players that they could target with their second, third, and fourth round selections. If the Browns plan on drafting a wide receiver by the time the draft hits in April, then it should be in the middle-rounds of the draft as their appears to be value in that area.