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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Browns Receiver on the outside looking in No. 4: Mike Hartley Jr.

Mike Hartley Jr. has a backstory that Browns fans are all too familiar with. Hartley was an undersized undrafted free agent that caught everything that was thrown his way during training camp. Then it came to light that Hartley was the University of Miami’s all-time leader in receptions. As stories came out of camp of Hartley’s emergence, fans started wondering aloud if the Browns had found a diamond in the rough.

Hartley’s preseason performances did nothing to quell those notions. The undrafted receiver was targeted 10 times and caught six balls for 68 yards and four first downs. Although he looked the part of a reliable target, the Browns elected to let Hartley go during the final cut down. But the dream was not dead, as Harley cleared waivers and was brought back to the Browns practice squad where he remained for the remainder of his rookie season.

Now heading into his sophomore season, Hartley will again have the opportunity to show what he can do in the offseason workouts and into training camp. But if he thought he faced an uphill battle last season, this year the young receiver is staring at Mt. Everest.

Browns Receiver on the outside looking in No. 3: Demetric Felton

Now I know what people are going to say, ‘Demetric Felton is a running back’, and I hear you. To that I say, grow up. Felton is a receiver. He’s always been a receiver since entering the NFL despite what his roster designation says.

Felton sees himself as a receiver as well. The third-year UCLA product has spent the offseason polishing his route running abilities and working with wide receiver coach David Robinson in Dallas, Texas. But can Felton put it all together and push either David Bell or return special Jakeem Grant off the roster?

It is now or never for Felton in Cleveland. Either he shows up to camp and locks down a role in the slot and in the return game, or he is going to be looking elsewhere to extend his NFL career. As of today, Felton is securely on the outside looking in.