Instant Dilemma: Where Do The Browns Get A Starting WR?

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The Cleveland Browns are going to be forced to deal with the terribly debilitating news about Josh Gordons’ alleged failed drug test. It seems like Gordon will inevitably be forced into a period of absence from the field on Sundays. Despite reports that the Browns front office had knowledge of Gordon’s transgressions, they have elected to pass on the opportunity to take a wide receiver in the draft. The most glaring draft pick pass was at overall pick #35 when there was a top ranked Wide receiver still on the board as well as multiple other options at the position should Marcus Lee not have been their guy. However, Browns General Manager stayed true to his draft day plan and neglected to pick any wide receiver despite the ever so glaring need. When asked about his decisions to pass on the wide receiver position thus far in the draft, Farmer Said “We play games in September….Right now there’s still plenty of opportunities for us to acquire players and to make things happen.”

As if the situation at Wide Receiver wasn’t already trending downward it was released later last night that the Browns recently signed Veteran Wide Receiver Nate Burleson has a fractured arm that was inflicted in voluntary mini camps. It does however appear that Burleson will be ready for training camp. With teams all over the NFL acquiring new talent this weekend it will be up to the Browns to find a Wide Receiver that is a good fit and could be had in some sort of a trade.

With all the positive moves made this off-season along with the nice job done in the draft to acquire a top flight corner, a starting lineman and a possible franchise quarterback, there will be a buzz of optimism around this team. The loss of Gordon dampens that somewhat but the Browns can still salvage things if they can find a way to field enough weapons to lineup on the outside for whoever is playing at quarterback. The Browns are going to have to go right back to work after the draft and figure out which of the remaining Free Agent Wide Receivers they need to bring in as well putting together a possible trade.

Here is the list of Wide Receivers on the current Browns roster:

Josh Gordon*(Facing Suspension)
Nate Burleson(Injured)
Greg Little
Andrew Hawkins
Travis Benjamin
Armanti Edwards
Royce Adams
Josh Cooper
Tori Gurley
Charles Johnson
Conner Vernon

Here is a list of Current Unsigned Free Agent Wide Receivers:

Santonio Homes
Danario Alexander
Miles Austin
Austin Collie
Earl Bennett
Davone Bess(Cut by Browns)
Deion Branch
Dezmin Briscoe
Plaxico Burress
Brandon Carswell
Josh Cribbs(Former Brown)
Marlon Moore
Chad Hall
Michael Spurlock
Brandon Stokley
Kevin Walter
Doug Baldwin
Brian Tyms(Cut by Browns)

As you can see, the Browns are only carrying a few receivers that have contributed to any team in the NFL. Greg Little has the potential to be productive if he can hold onto the ball but he hasn’t proven that he can yet. Andrew Hawkins is a nice addition and hopefully Burleson and Benjamin can step it up but even if they do, the Browns are going to have to add some experience. The free agent list is very bleak as far as players that could make an impact. Doug Baldwin, Danario Alexander and Santonio Holmes could help a little but after that, I fail to see any of these guys making a difference. This leaves GM Ray Farmer and OC Kyle Shanahan with two major tasks before the season starts. Farmer must acquire some more talent and Shanahan needs to develop a creative way to allow his receivers to overachieve. The way in which Farmer stuck to his draft plan and did not draft WR when he had the chance, leads me to believe that they have some sort of a plan in place to find a legitimate starting wide receiver before the season. Let’s hope so.

By: Brad Ward

Follow @CST_BradWard on Twiter

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