2. Ja’Marcus Bradley, WR
Fans love wide receivers who run 4.4 40-yard dashes. Well, okay, here is Ja’Marcus Bradley who runs 4.4 and has decent size at six feet even and 198 pounds. He hasn’t dropped a pass in two years, has been developing his route tree, and he has an apostrophe in his first name, just like the dude in Cincinnati. What’s there not to like?
We just haven’t seen very much of him because he has been buried on the depth chart behind Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Rashard Higgins, plus draft picks Anthony Schwartz and Demetric Felton — Bradley was not drafted.
Let’s be blunt here. Schwartz definitely has potential, but as a (barely) 21-year-old who split his college time between the track team and football team, he didn’t have a solid foundation for the NFL. He should not have been thrown on the field as early as he was last season.
Dawg Pound, please don’t blame the player for that, blame the coaching staff. However, Schwartz played poorly and Bradley should have gotten the chances that were instead given to Schwartz early on when Landry and Beckham were both injured. Felton was much more ready and caught 18 of 21 balls thrown to him.
Some fans nevertheless complain about Felton, probably because they incorrectly believe he is a running back who is a threat to take snaps away from Nick Chubb, and also because Felton has a slow 40-yard dash time (4.58). That’s not the case. Felton is a slot receiver who only rushed the ball seven times last year for 24 yards. Chubb’s job is safe, okay? Let’s quit complaining about a receiver who has an 85.7 catch percentage.
Anyway, Bradley was targeted only four times last season and caught the fall four times. That’s not much of a data sample, but his catch percentage is 100. What the heck, we’ve seen worse in Cleveland.
In 2020, he got a start in the Covid game against the Jets, when all the regular receivers were taken out due to contact tracing. Bradley was promoted from the practice squad and thrown in the game as a starter and had a good first half.
Then the Jets realized that Bradley only knew how to run about 10 patterns and that Mayfield had no other wide receiver option, so they were able to shut him down. Under the circumstances, Bradley was actually very impressive.
This season, the Browns have lost OBJ, Landry, and Higgins, but added Jakeem Grant and Amari Cooper as free agents, and drafted David Bell and Michael Woods II. Also, UDFA Isaiah Weston may have too much promise to cut.
That’s three receivers out, five new receivers whose destinies the Browns want to control going forward. Adding them to holdovers Peoples-Jones, Schwartz, and Felton, that makes eight, which is too many. The Browns would have to make a trade or sneak one or two players through waivers to get Bradley on the 53-player roster. Cleveland probably over-invested in wide receivers this season. They may carry seven into the regular season rather than the usual six.