The Cleveland Browns were looking to add to their wide receiver room with their last pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Did the Browns make a mistake by selecting Donovan Peoples-Jones over K.J. Hill?
The Cleveland Browns clearly have their number one and two wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. After that, however, the depth chart is extremely uncertain. Currently, the Browns have Damion Ratley, KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery, Taywan Taylor, and JoJo Natson on their roster.
The Browns looked to add another receiver to the roster to compete for the number three spot with their last pick in the 2020 NFL draft. With the 187th pick, the Browns selected Donovan Peoples-Jones out of the University of Michigan.
By selecting Peoples-Jones the Browns passed over KJ Hill, a wide receiver from Ohio State University. Was this a mistake? Did the Browns choose the best receiver available? Let us breakdown how the two wide receivers stacked up against one another.
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Hill was measured at the NFL combine at 6-foot and 196 pounds. His arms measured 29 and an eighth inches long with his hands coming in at 9 and one-quarter inches.
Peoples-Jones was measured at the NFL combine at 6-foot-two and 212 pounds. His arms measured 33- and one-half inches long with his hands coming in at 10 and one-eighth inches.
Hill ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. He registered a 32-and-one half-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 114 inches.
Peoples-Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds. He registered a 44-and-one half-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of 139 inches.
Hill is one of Ohio State’s most accomplished receivers. While at OSU Hill caught 201 receptions (most in school history) for 2,332 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Peoples-Jones played three seasons for the University of Michigan. During his time at UM, Peoples-Jones caught 103 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The biggest discrepancy would be their ages. Hill will turn 23 by week two of the NFL season, and Peoples-Jones will not turn 22 until after the season concludes. With age comes experience, Hill graduated as a redshirt senior. Peoples-Jones left college after his junior year to enter the NFL.
Both received similar prospect grades as well as similar round projections. However, both slipped several rounds from where they were slotted, so there could be a chip on both of the former Big 10 receivers’ shoulders.
The Elephant in the Room
Hill played for the state of Ohio’s beloved Buckeyes and Peoples-Jones played for that team up north. While that should not factor in a scout’s evaluation and front office’s decision on a prospect, it most certainly does with the large contingent of Browns’ fans who also spend their Saturdays cheering on OSU. In the end, Peoples-Jones will have to work harder and have more success for the entire fanbase to embrace him than Hill would have. That’s the reality of the situation.
The most crucial factor would be the Browns’ current needs. Hill projected to be a slot receiver in the NFL, a position that the Browns already have under control with Landry and their use of multiple tight end sets they will employ. Kareem Hunt may also factor in slot receiver repetitions.
Peoples-Jones projects as an outside receiver who could make his bones on the boundary. A position that would be more coveted by the Browns. DPJ’s size would also be a plus, as the Browns are a height deprived team at the wide receiver position. He would also be a candidate to return punts, which is also a team need.
Overall, Peoples-Jones checks more boxes for the Browns and was the right pick for the team to make. Now it’s up to him to prove that to fans so they can move past his history and forgive his past transgressions.