The Cleveland Browns 22-year-old wideout had a solid rookie season and looks to progress heading into next season.
Well, it may be early to say so, but in only 12 games last season, Peoples-Jones flashed some very solid potential. DPJ is listed at 6-2, 212lbs, which is pretty large for a receiver. He’s freakishly athletic and ran a 4.48 at the 2020 combine, very solid for his size. He also registered a ridiculous 44.5-inch vertical jump.
Being underlooked heading into the draft was an unusual feeling for Peoples-Jones, who was the number one receiver in his high school class, and the twelfth ranked player, nationally.
Playing tough competition in a strong conference alongside a subpar quarterback throughout college may have attributed to a lack of national attention for DPJ at the collegiate level.
Berry didn’t quite take a huge risk in selecting Peoples-Jones, but it seems to be paying dividends already. Not only do most sixth-round picks not make rosters, but most don’t see the field much in their rookie seasons.
Peoples-Jones racked in 14 receptions and amassed 304 yards receiving. He had two receptions for touchdowns including a game-winning catch in Cleveland’s week seven game against the Bengals.
DPJ became somewhat of a fan favorite after said catch.
Donovan Peoples-Jones actually saw the field quite a bit in his 12 games. Most of his reps came on running plays where he excelled as a blocker.
What can the Cleveland Browns expect from DPJ this season?
To be quite honest, Peoples-Jones’ role might not expand greatly this season. He is still behind two Pro Bowl receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. He will also have to compete with Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins for reps and the Browns also added rookies Anthony Schwartz and Demetric Felton Jr.
Although, DPJ adds versatility in the Browns’ offense with his size and route running. We saw him tear up the field with a huge touchdown against the Tennesee Titans where he ran a beautiful route, burning his defender.
Peoples-Jones also became one of quarterback Baker Mayfield’s favorite targets late in the season. DPJ was a big play target when he could get open down the field. He averaged 21.7 yards per catch.
Training camp will be vital for the young receiver to prove himself even more than he already has. He’s going to have an opportunity to make a huge leap and make a mark on the team. DPJ may be a hidden gem for a team that has managed to gather a ton of talent over the past few years.
Player Comparison: Ceiling
This is not a direct comparison or even an expectation for Peoples-Jones to meet, but he is reminiscent of Julio Jones, who recently found a new home in the AFC. This comparison is primarily based on the size of the two players. Jones is listed at 6-3, 220lbs; slightly bigger than Peoples-Jones.
It is not fair to either player to make a strong comparison, but DPJ has a similar skill set, in a more limited capacity, as of right now. He obviously has a lesser role and hasn’t proven much in the NFL yet, but a very generous ceiling is Julio Jones.
Julio Jones is one of the greatest wideouts in history, and the Browns would be elated if DPJ could perform consistently at even a fraction of Julio Jones’ production.
Although it is unlikely Peoples-Jones will ever reach the levels of Julio Jones, it is fun to imagine the unexpected. Now let’s try a more realistic comparison.
Player Comparison: Fair
A more moderate comparison based on size and relative skill is one that I like in Marvin Jones Jr. Yes, another player with the last name of Jones. The two receivers are almost identical in size. Both players were late-round picks.
Jones Jr. has had a long, successful career where he has strived on subpar teams. He’s played most of his snaps as a secondary receiver, in a similar, but more expanded role than DPJ’s. Jones has solid hands and is a solid route runner.
My favorite thing about this comparison is the fact that both had very similar rookie seasons. Almost the same age and production. Jones Jr. had 18 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown in his rookie season, then followed up the next season with just over 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
It shouldn’t be expected for DPJ to have identical stats, but I’d bet on him at least doubling his receptions, yards, and touchdowns this upcoming season. Doing so would be crucial for the Browns.