9 Cleveland Browns wideouts who will make NFL rosters this season

May 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver David Bell (18) catches a pass during organized team activities at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2022; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver David Bell (18) catches a pass during organized team activities at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns
Jan 9, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (11) jokes around and plays keep away from Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Stanley Morgan (17) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The AFC North wide receiver rooms are thin

If the Browns wide receivers corps is exceptionally deep, the Cincinnati Bengals probably have the strongest starters, with Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. However, the Bengals bench is not quite that awesome. In fact, they are shockingly non-productive.

How strongly does anyone believe in the likes of Stanley Morgan, Mike Thomas or Trent Taylor? None of these players had more than 52 receiving yards last season, which has to be some kind of record for non-achievement.

Taylor did have 430 yards as a rookie for San Francisco in 2017, but that was five years ago. Thomas has only 328 yards in a six-year NFL career. Stanley Morgan, Jr. has 29 yards in his three-year NFL career, despite 296 offensive snaps.

But he does play special teams. He had better. The Bengals will be scrounging to replace Auden Tate, who had 575 yards in 2019 but only 39 in seven games last year. Frankly, these numbers are incredible, and not in a good way. Are you ready for Weird Stat of the Day? Get ready, get set, here it is:

Weird stat of the day: Anthony Schwartz by himself outgained the entire Cincinnati backup wide receiver corps combined


RANK  PLAYER                              RECS                  TYFS      

  • WR4  Mike Thomas             5                          52             
  • WR5  Trent Taylor                5                          41       
  • WR6   Auden Tate                3                          39     (free agent, departed)
  • WR7   Stanley Morgan       2                          14  (11 yards rec, 3 yards rush)

   TOTAL                                                                        146  (143 yards rec, 3 yards rush)

BROWNS Anthony Schwartz by himself           174 (135 yards rec, 39 yards rush)

BROWNS  Demetric Felton by himself               205 (181 yards rec, 24 yards rush)

BROWNS Jakeem Grant by himself                     165 (132 yards rec, 33 yards rush) 

(all NFL stats courtesy Pro-Football-Reference.com, college stats sports-reference.com)

This isn’t saying that Anthony Schwartz was a great player in 2021. He wasn’t.

But Schwartz had an injured Baker Mayfield throwing the ball to him, while the Bengals had a premier passer in Joe Burrow throwing to four separate guys behind their Big Three. It’s not that Schwartz demonstrated any level of greatness, but rather that the Bengals’ backup receivers failed to impress anyone.

By the way, Demetric Felton and Jakeem Grant can say the same thing. Schwartz was just because he’s a pure wide receiver and there was no need to subject ourselves to whiny Bengals fans complaining that this was an unfair comparison. Face it, Thomas, Taylor, Tate, and Morgan just didn’t produce for the Bengals in 2021.

The Bengals’ bench is miles behind the Browns. In short, the Bengals are likely to claim a receiver on waivers, and possibly as many as three because they are that weak.

Baltimore is diminished after trading away star wide receiver Marquise Brown and letting Sammy Watkins go. However, they like to play two tight end formations and frequently use a fullback, so they might enter the season with only five wide receivers rather than the usual six.

The Ravens feature former number one draft pick Rashod Bateman plus Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Tylan Wallace. They’re also auditioning six undrafted free agent wide receivers this summer. Odds are they will manufacture one or two developmental receivers given six shots at it.

If they lose one or two waivers on roster cutdown date, so what? They will have four or five others that will know their system that they can sign to their practice squad. You could say that the Ravens have four name-brand receivers and would be mildly interested to add one more backup, while the Bengals have three studs and need to add two or three quality backups.

This season the Birds also have J.K. Dobbins returning, though he has been slow to bounce back from ACL surgery. Dobbins is the starting tailback, but he is also a slot receiver in the Ravens’ scheme. The Dawg Pound at times tends to believe that the slot receiver has to be a consummate wide receiver, a la Jarvis Landry, but not everyone in the AFC shares that belief. For example, over in Steeltown, Najee Harris has continued the tradition set by Le’Veon Bell.

Speaking of the Steelers, they lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and change-of-pace receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, but obtained fringe talent Myles Boykin from Baltimore and drafted two prospects in George Pickens and Calvin Austin.

They complement stars Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. That’s five players who are professional receivers, plus Harris plus any additional help they get from the running back room or the tight end room. That’s a reasonably full roster for the Men of Steel. Thus, the Steelers might be less likely to claim a wide receiver on waivers than the Ravens or Bengals.

Let’s turn our attention back to the Browns now. After having familiarized ourselves with the rosters around the AFC North, it is apparent that wide receiver depth is much less of a problem in Cleveland than at the other AFC North sites. In fact, the Cleveland front office has managed to overbook the wide receiver room.