5 Cleveland Browns wide receivers on the outside looking in

Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz scores a first-half touchdown.
Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz scores a first-half touchdown. / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK
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It was clear that the Cleveland Browns needed to upgrade their wide receiver room if they truly wanted to become a more pass heavy team in 2023. What was not clear was how they would go about adding to that room. Would the addition come in the form of a trade, or free agency, or the NFL draft?

Less than 10 days into the new league year and we have our answer. That answer is yes. On Wednesday, the Browns made a move to raise the ceiling of their wide receiver room when they traded with the New York Jets for Elijah Moore. By acquiring Moore, the Browns effectively injected speed and inside/out versatility, all of which were greatly needed.

Then on Friday, the Browns signed veteran wide receiver Marquise Goodwin to a one-year contract. Just as the trade for Moore raised the ceiling, the addition of Goodwin elevated the wide receiver room’s floor. Goodwin brings nine years of experience, still has elite-level speed, and is used to being a role player.

There can be no question that the Browns wide receiver corps are now one of the more intriguing units in the league now. But with the new additions to a room that already had Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, a second-year player in David Bell, and a return specialist in Jakeem Grant, where does that leave the other nine receivers currently on the roster?

Browns Receiver on the outside looking in No. 5: Jaelon Darden

Jaelon Darden was a waiver wire pickup from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in early December of the 2022 season. It was an intriguing pickup given Darden’s strengths were all things that the Browns were lacking at the time. They desperately needed a player that could operate out of the slot, run jet sweep motion, and contribute in the kick return game. Darden checked all of those boxes.

While Darden was not able to contribute much down the stretch, the second-year player only returned two punts and one of those was a fair catch, until the Browns found a serviceable wideout with a similar skillset Darden would have an opportunity to make the roster. The additions of Moore and Goodwin all but eliminated any chance Darden had of making a go of it in Cleveland.