The top of the Cleveland Browns wide receiver depth chart is settled, but the competition for the final spots is proving to be a heated battle.
The main priority during training camp for those four receivers will be adjusting to the new offense, as well as continuing to build chemistry with Mayfield. But with those four spots on the wide receiver depth chart locked down, there will be a battle for the final one or two spots.
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While there has been a lot of focus on the battles for the starting right guard job or the starting jobs at No. 2 cornerback and strong safety, the competition at the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart has been lost in the mix. But it is already proving to be a tough and interesting competition.
There are multiple receivers vying for the last wide receiver jobs, with Derrick Willies, Damion Ratley, Jaelen Strong, and Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi headlining the group. But after a strong start to training camp, another name has rightfully joined the group: Blake Jackson.
Jackson was one of the stories of Saturday’s practice after making several solid plays, including a diving touchdown grab in tight coverage. His play has certainly opened some eyes and it should have firmly planted him in the conversation for the wide receiver competition.
Jackson spent time on the Browns practice squad in 2018, so some of the coaching staff will be familiar with his abilities. Making plays during the early portion of camp is important because he will have the attention of the entire coaching staff for the rest of camp.
Entering training camp, most of the talk about the wide receiver competition surrounded Willies, Ratley, and Sheehy-Guiseppi. With Ratley and Willies making some plays during the 2018 season, including plays in key moments, it seemed like they were in solid position for the final jobs. But if they aren’t making as many plays like Jackson, it could come down to how well they play on special teams.
The Browns seem to be putting a greater emphasis on special teams this season, making several additions during the offseason that will have an effect on their special teams unit. One of those additions was Sheehy-Guiseppi, who was signed as an unknown prospect.
But during his time with Phoenix College, Sheehy-Guiseppi proved to be an electric returner. With the Browns struggling to produce much in terms of returns over the past several years, if he can show his return abilities during camp, it may be hard for the Browns to pass on his potential. He also made a pair of deep catches while working with the offense Friday.
Each player brings a different skill-set to the table, so they will need to continue to make plays to stand out. So far during camp, Jackson and Sheehy-Guiseppi have been the players who have been able to do so.
With the amount of players vying for the final wide receiver jobs, it will be a competition that should last for most of training camp. And once the Browns take the field during the preseason, it could become a battle that becomes the center of attention.