Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz had a rough rookie campaign, but what can we expect from the second-year Auburn product?
When the Cleveland Browns took wide receiver Anthony Schwartz in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft most knew he was a project player. He didn’t have good quarterback play in college and needed a lot of work to learn the ins and outs of the position.
But he had one calling card that you just cannot teach, speed with a dazzling 4.27 second 40-yard dash time. This speed is what, despite needing a ton of work as a receiver, made the Browns believe he was worth a day two draft pick. They knew they could teach him to improve his route running and work on catching the football more consistently.
Schwartz had a rough rookie season, in part due to a concussion that sidelined him for several games, and quarterback play that wasn’t great. He ended up with only 10 catches and it left a lot of fans calling him a bust and calling for the Browns to move on.
But not so fast, he was a player that was always going to need time to learn the position and develop after not having great coaching in college. The things that he lacks are coachable and to this point, he hasn’t shown any reason to believe he isn’t willing to be coached or put in the work.
The Browns are poised to have better quarterback play, Deshaun Watson or Jacoby Brissett would be better than an injured Baker Mayfield — who was bottom 5 last season. Cleveland doesn’t need Schwartz to be the No. 1 or 2 guy, he just needs to use his greatest asset to open up the offense.
Schwartz will be the lynchpin to a wide receiver room that many thinks aren’t very good, if he can stretch the field and create space everyone will prosper. I believe that he will have a strong season, though his role won’t be large he has the tools to make a difference. If he can consistently threaten teams deep, the tight ends, as well as receivers like David Bell and Amari Cooper, will thrive underneath.
I’m not calling for a pro bowl season but I expect something in the neighborhood of 35-40 catches for 500-600 yards and 6 touchdowns. He will also see some reverses and end-around, he isn’t a polished route runner but if they use his speed as a weapon he will be effective.
Schwartz has work to do but as long as he puts his head down and does it he will be a solid player that opens up this offense.