How fast were Cleveland Browns all-time receiving leaders?
If you want to know who the most successful Browns receivers were all-time, No. 1 was the Wiz, Ozzie Newsome, who was a tight end, with 7980 receiving yards, followed by Dante “Gluefingers” Lavelli, Mac Speedie, Ray Renfro, Gary Collins, Paul Warfield, Reggie Rucker, Webster Slaughter, Dave Logan and Milt Morin.
Oz and Morin were tight ends, not your classic speedy wide receiver at all. Renfro played halfback for a few years before becoming a full-time wide receiver. It’s hard to know how fast some of the old-timers were since they didn’t record 40-yard dash times, and they used different methods to estimate speed (with pads or not, and the track surface makes a difference also).
Speedie was a hurdler in college, but at 6-3 and 205 pounds was probably not quite an elite sprinter. The list contains receivers known for toughness, fantastic hands and their ability to catch passes in traffic and run precise patterns. Warfield and Speedie might have been the fastest guys on the list, as a guess, in the low 4.4’s, but most of them probably did not break 4.5.
Newsome, Collins, Warfield and Morin were first-round draft picks. Lavelli and Speedie were charter members of the 1946 Browns. Logan was drafted in the third round. Reggie Rucker was acquired by trade for a fourth-round draft pick. Renfro and Slaughter were both drafted in the fourth round.
Becoming a career leader in reception yardage did not require elite speed. Those who had elite speed did not make the leader board with the Browns. Braylon Edwards was the only one who was a threat, but substance abuse turned out to be more important than his 40-yard dash time. So why does anyone think that elite speed for wide receivers is so essential to today’s Cleveland Browns? It’s probably Communist propaganda designed to demoralize Browns fans worldwide. Do not fall for it.
The Browns need receivers who can play in cold weather and help win home-field playoff games in December and January.
Track stars are great. We can root for them every four years in the Summer Olympics. We don’t necessarily need them to try to catch footballs for the Cleveland Browns.
If the Browns are going to draft speed, it’s much more important at defensive back, where they have to react to all the moves that these guys put on them, and they have to close the gap if they get open. Why don’t we hear more about drafting speedy corners in the first round? That makes more sense. You can be a slow wide receiver in the NFL and make it, but you cannot be a slow cornerback and survive.
If you want to draft a combine freak, give me a big defensive end who has a huge vertical, great mobility and can bench press the entire training room. Let’s draft that guy.
In summary, while waiting for the free agency period to kick in, and especially for the NFL draft, there is always fan excitement for new, tall quarterbacks and speedy wide receivers. If Ja’Marr Chase is available, draft him, but it is not necessarily a good idea to go wide receiver early and often in the draft.
If it was, the Detroit Lions would be contenders. The truth is, wide receiver talent can be found anywhere in the draft, and 40-yard dash times are not that important. They are much more important for defensive backs, not wide receivers.