Browns' roster rundown: Wide receiver

June, 25, 2014
6/25/14
3:00
PM ET
Assessing the Cleveland Browns' roster as we head to training camp, with a position-by-position rundown comparing it to when the season ended and now.

Wide receiver

Then: Josh Gordon, Greg Little, Davone Bess, Travis Benjamin (injured), Brian Tyms, Josh Cooper

Now: Gordon (maybe), Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins, Nate Burleson, Benjamin, Anthony Armstrong, Charles Johnson.

Gordon
Gordon
Thoughts: This group's fate depends on the fate of Gordon, whose suspension continues to loom with no clear timeframe for a decision. If Gordon avoids losing the season, the group is improved and deeper. If he is suspended, the Browns' offense becomes one of the easiest in the league to defend -- because it will be without its playmaker. Defenses will be able to stack the box to stop the run and dare a pedestrian group of receivers to win, and back it up with two deep safeties. With Gordon, the depth and experience added by GM Ray Farmer should help -- if Austin and Burleson can stay healthy, and that's a big if. Hawkins was a pleasant surprise in shorts, but the competition increases once training camp starts. Without Gordon, the group would seek an identity, and that would not help its quarterbacks. With Gordon expected to be suspended, this group becomes a large question mark. With Gordon on the field, there are players who can complement and help him.

Positives: If on the field, Gordon is a dynamic playmaker and a rare talent. The veterans who join him should help as well.

Negatives: Gordon's suspension would be a devastating blow to the offense, and suddenly the receiving corps would be a bunch of guys struggling to re-establish themselves or make a name for themselves.

Upgraded, level or downgraded: With Gordon, the group is upgraded. Without him, it's a downgrade.

Previously: Quarterback, running back/fullback.

Coming: Tight end, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, secondary, coaching staff, front office.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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