2021 Cleveland Browns 53-man roster breakdown: Wide Receiver

Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns
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Third-Tier Receivers

In my opinion, there are really only three guys who are battling for the final two positions on the active roster. In the Kevin Stefanski offense, there will be more of an emphasis on having tight-ends active over wide receivers, so only expect six to be dressed on Sunday.

The biggest battle in my opinion will be between KhaDarel Hodge and JoJo Natson for the sixth and final spot. Natson is a return specialist and can be used in the offense for gadget plays like reverses and jet sweeps, but really isn’t going to provide any production as a true receiver.

Hodge has been an interesting player for the Browns. He has been a long-time special team ace but has recently started to see more and more playing time at wide receiver. After injuries last season, Hodge would often be the lone wideout in a single receiver, run-heavy sets. His big frame and strong hands are desirable, but he lacks elite athleticism to be a great NFL receiver.

Because Natson is so limited and the Browns will have other return options, I see Hodge being the final active receiver on game day. Not only will he be more productive as an actual receiver, but he can also be a huge contributor on special teams. The big question, will he be okay with the demotion from last season?

If Hodge thinks he can have a bigger role on another team, the team could mutually agree to release him.