As I wrote in my last article, the Browns traded WR Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills for a 7th round 2020 pick also known as a box of rocks. Clearly, he wasn’t jiving with the current coaching staff and needed to be let go. However, this leaves the Browns in the hole at wide receiver with Ricardo Louis out for the season, Antonio Callaway facing possession charges and Josh Gordon’s status up in the air.
But what if the answer to the Browns’ wide receiver depth is on the roster already?
His name is Duke Johnson Jr.
Yes, Duke is a running back but with the selection of Nick Chubb and the signing of Carlos Hyde, the Browns have three solid running backs. Last season, Duke caught 74 receptions for 694 yards and three touchdowns. This in comparison to his 348 rushing yards on only 82 attempts.
It’s time to make Johnson a wide receiver permanently.
He’s proven he can catch the ball and was actually the top receiver on the Browns by a long shot last year. Seth Devalve of all players was second with 35 catches for 395 yards. Now, this year the Browns have the additions of Jarvis Landry and hopefully Josh Gordon for a full season, but that’s no guarantee until he’s actually out on the field.
The reason this move makes sense is the Browns would still have two very solid backs even with Johnson out wide. He can help fill a clear need for this team and it’s not like he can’t take some carries if either Chubb or Hyde are out for some reason.
Apparently, this move has been talked about but Head Coach Hue Jackson isn’t quite ready to make the switch. He may be waiting to see what’s the deal with Gordon first. There is still plenty of time until the regular season starts.
Finally, Johnson has simply proven that with the ball in his hands, he makes things happen. That’s what this team needs if they want to win a few games this year. Even if the Browns don’t make this an “official” switch, expect Johnson to be a big part of the passing attack this year.