Saturday, April 27, 2013
Browns' receivers can learn from Bess
By Jamison Hensley
While the Cleveland Browns' first two picks of this draft addressed the defense, they made a solid move to help the other side of the ball, trading for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess on Friday night.
Bess isn't a playmaker who'll turn the Browns offense into a top-10 unit. He won't even be a starter. But Bess can be a key role player as well as role model.
He's a hard worker who has went from an undrafted rookie out of Hawaii to becoming a sure-handed slot receiver in this league. Bess has never had fewer than 50 catches in any of his five NFL seasons. He also has caught 130 third-down passes, second most in the NFL during the past five years, according to the Browns. That trails only the Falcons' Roddy White (146).
Beyond the numbers, the impressive part is the impression that Bess makes. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland called Bess "a consummate professional" and said he "worked hard to become one of the team's most popular and respected players."
Bess is an important player to have on a team whose top two receivers, Josh Gordon and Greg Little, have a combined three seasons of NFL experience. The Browns didn't have to give up much for him either. Cleveland traded picks in the fourth (No. 104) and fifth (No. 164) rounds in exchange for Bess and selections in the fourth (No. 111) and seventh (No. 217) rounds. That fifth-rounder was acquired by the Browns in the deal that sent backup quarterback Colt McCoy to the 49ers earlier this month.
The hope is either Bess or David Nelson will emerge as the team's slot receiver. Nelson still hasn't recovered from knee surgery, so Bess provides insurance at receiver, at the very least. What the Browns know for sure is he'll provide a positive presence in a young locker room.