Friday, May 4, 2012
Browns: One big question
By Jamison Hensley
What are the Cleveland Browns doing at wide receiver?
The short answer: nothing. That is, unless you believe fourth-round pick Travis Benjamin is the next Steve Smith. The Browns ignored wide receivers in free agency and didn't address the position in the draft until the 100th pick (that was Benjamin).
What Cleveland is left with is perhaps the worst wide receiver group in the NFL with Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Josh Cribbs, Jordan Norwood and Carlton Mitchell. There are simply no elite playmakers in this group. Some of the wide receivers' ineffectiveness last season can be blamed on Colt McCoy and his lack of arm strength. But the Browns' wide receivers didn't help him out, either. Cleveland had the most drops in the NFL last season (33) and ranked second-to-last in average yards after the catch (4.4), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Little, who led the team in receptions, also averaged one drop for every five passes thrown his way, according to Pro Football Focus.
The Browns wanted to address wide receiver this offseason, but they didn't want to overspend on free agent Pierre Garcon, and all of their coveted draft prospects (Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright) were gone by their second first-round pick. Team president Mike Holmgren insisted the Browns aren't panicking and stressed that the wide receivers will catch the ball better. If not, rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden will have a rough initiation into the NFL.