The biggest question mark coming into the season, outside of the Deshaun Watson situation, was how the WR room was going to be formed. There were a lot of concerns after the Browns lost Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. So, what is the reaction to the Browns WR core through Week 3?
Firstly, the Browns needed a new number one WR. Were they going to rely on WR Donovan Peoples-Jones to become that? That question was answered pretty early on in the offseason.
The Cleveland Browns traded a fifth-round pick and agreed to a sixth-round pick swap in order to obtain WR Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys. This trade went down on March 16th. That answered the question of who will be the number one wideout very quickly in the offseason. That left the wide receiver room with Amari Cooper, Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz. Next up was the draft. Cleveland drafted WR David Bell out of Purdue with the 99th overall selection. This pretty much shaped the room for this season.
Amari Cooper was a STEAL. Trading away such a minimal amount to get a four-time pro-bowler already seemed like a steal. But, now that we have seen back-to-back games of such great production, I’m not quite sure what the Cowboys were thinking. Week 1 against the Panthers was a bit of a struggle. Cooper was open on a lot of his routes, but Brissett couldn’t seem to find him. Week’s 2 and 3 were a different story.
Against the Jets, Cooper finished with nine catches on ten targets for 101 yards and a TD. Week 3 against the Steelers was much of the same. He finished with seven catches on eleven targets for 101 yards and a TD. He became the first Browns receiver with back-to-back games with 100 receiving yards since none other than Josh Gordon in 2013. Amari has proven through two weeks to be a true WR1 and an amazing target for Brissett.
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) September 23, 2022
WR2 or TE1?
Donovan Peoples-Jones started hot this season with some very tough catches against the Panthers. He finished that game with six receptions for 60 yards. It seemed like every time he was making a catch, it was contested and came at a huge point in the game. Since then, however, Donovan has been very limited. He has only had four targets throughout the next two games, resulting in only one catch for 10 yards. The majority of this limited production has been due to the outburst of Amari Cooper. I would be remiss not to mention TE David Njoku here as well. Even though he is a tight end, he has been fantastic. Against the Steelers, he had a career game. Njoku hauled in nine receptions for 89 yards and a TD.
Who Else has Contributed?
As far as receiving goes for the Browns, that has pretty much been it. The reaction to the Browns WR core through Week 3 is pretty limited and had to include a tight end. Anthony Schwartz has only been targeted two times this season resulting in one catch for 19 yards. He does, however, have two rushes for 20 yards. David Bell only has two targets and two receptions, both for six yards. Harrison Bryant, another tight end, has eight catches for 63 yards through three games.
The limitations and lack of production by some of the Browns WR core through week three can mainly be attributed to Amari Cooper and David Njoku’s huge successes and the amazing Browns running back room. When you have a combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, behind arguably the best offensive line in the league, there simply aren’t many passing opportunities. It will be interesting to see if anyone else outside of Cooper and Njoku can step up and make some big plays. I think David Bell can be a guy to make some timely catches. He just may need a little time to get comfortable in the NFL.
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