Anyone with a uniform number is a threat, and the Cleveland Browns have some wide receivers who may threaten the status quo — a lot.
The Cleveland Browns have some unknown kids who can not only make the roster, but with Deshaun Watson feeding them footballs, could become legitimate threats.
Not every wide receiver prospect has to be a physical superhuman like D.K. Metcalf, who is 6-foot-4, weighs 229 pounds and ran a 4.33 40-yard dash. They just have to show up at the right place at the right time and catch footballs and not drop them.
By the way, a lot of scouts still did not like Metcalf because they said he did not run sufficiently disciplined patterns for the NFL, so he wound up getting drafted 64th overall. Go figure.
This article is not primarily about prospects like Anthony Schwartz (he of the 4.22 40 time), or 2022 draftees David Bell of Purdue or Michael Woods II of Oklahoma.
You already know about these players. They are supposed to make the roster, and nobody is going to be surprised if they get playing time. What will be surprising is if someone else moves ahead of one of them in the Browns depth chart, and that could very well happen.
There are five additional players who are on the roster that no one is really talking about who have an outside chance of becoming a starting wide receiver or slot receiver by midseason.
There are a number of reasons why wide receivers get missed in the draft or wind up in NFL limbo. A classic case is the fast wide receiver from a small school. If you watch the highlight film from some of these players, it’s almost impossible to form an opinion on them because they blow past slow cornerbacks and are open for easy catches.
That’s not what they will see in the NFL. It doesn’t mean that they cannot make the NFL catch, but it does mean the scouts do not have adequate video to make a fair judgment. We would prefer to see some low-lights in addition to the highlights, but that is usually not possible.
Another issue for those of us who want to be amateur scouts is that the small-school receiver is not likely to have been paired with a high-caliber quarterback who can make the tough throws that we need to see him catch.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at our under-the-radar candidate, Mike Harley, Jr. He is so good, they may want to name a motorcycle after him.