Derrick Willies could become key member of Cleveland Browns WR corps
The Cleveland Browns have one of the best group of wide receivers in the NFL, but Derrick Willies could find himself becoming a big part of the group.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Derrick Willies entered training camp on the roster bubble and fighting for one of the final wide receiver jobs. But even with two preseason games left, Willies seems to be in a good position to make the final roster.
The Browns brought in several wide receivers to compete for the final spots on the depth chart. Whether it be a veteran like Jaelen Strong or undrafted rookies such as D.J. Montgomery, there is plenty of competition.
After limited playing time in 2018 before suffering a broken collarbone, Willies was not going to have an easy path to make the roster. But putting together a strong training camp early on, as well as an extra roster spot with Antonio Callaway’s suspension, has helped Willies establish himself in the competition.
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During Saturday’s game against the Colts, Willies made only one grab, but made it count, catching a four-yard touchdown pass from David Blough. But he was able to continue that momentum Tuesday, making several plays during practice.
"Willies was all over the field, making catch after catch. His grabs came between defenders and over defenders, a product of precise route-running and a beneficiary of having the biggest receiver frame on the team. He caught his receptions in the end zone, running deep outs, flag routes, skinny posts and drags. He did it all and reminded us of who will likely be on this team. – Nick Shook, ClevelandBrowns.com"
Willies’ size gives him an advantage over most defenders, but with crisp route running, he could become a major problem to defend. And one thing the Browns wide receivers corps currently lacks is a receiver with a frame like Willies.
Because of his size, Willies can be a threat to make a play no matter where the ball is thrown. And offenses typically take advantage of players who can make plays while being tightly defended because of their size.
With Callaway’s four-game suspension, the Browns are going to need someone to step up and be the team’s No. 4 wide receiver. And Willies could emerge to be a good candidate for the job since he provides something the top three Browns receiver do not have: size.
Willies also could emerge as a red zone threat since his size would help anytime a jump ball is thrown his way. And with the amount of red zone threats the Browns already have, he would have plenty of one-on-one opportunities in the red zone to make plays.
He may not have the most publicity surrounding him, but Willies and his six-foot-four and 207 pound frame could become a key member of Cleveland group of wide receivers. If he continues to play well in camp and earns a roster spot, he may see the field often in 2019.