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Cleveland Browns Training Camp 2012: WR Preview (Can Cooper Squeeze In?)

Jun 12, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (18) runs a route during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE
Jun 12, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Carlton Mitchell (18) runs a route during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-US PRESSWIRE

As if it wasn't difficult enough to sift through the first six wide receivers on the Cleveland Browns depth chart, when you look at a few of the guys behind them, you kind of start wishing you could keep more than 53 players on your team. Today's preview takes a look at wide receivers Carlton Mitchell, Josh Cooper, Rod Windsor, Bert Reed, Jermaine Saffold, and Owen Spencer.


8276_mediumCarlton Mitchell (#18)
Weight: 215
Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
College: South Florida
Note: Pegged as having a lot of upside...might be running out of time to showcase it.

Mitchell had a glimmer of home at making the team this year up until last week when Josh Gordon arrived. A sixth-round pick by the Browns back in 2010, Mitchell has been patiently waiting for his opportunity to shine. He did not play in his rookie season, and his playing time was limited at the beginning of last season after he had surgery on one of his fingers. Mitchell finished the season with 3 catches for 31 yards, all of which came over the final two games of the season.

Mitchell has gained somewhat of a cult following due to the humor he has expressed on his Twitter account, as well as the fact that some fans have felt that he has breakout potential. He has some of the same physical tools that Gordon has, but you have to imagine the coaches won't think twice about getting Gordon into the lineup over Mitchell. This is Mitchell's third and possibly final year to try to make an impact in training camp. Unfortunately, the numbers aren't in his favor this time around, and he is no longer eligible to make the practice squad.

Final Roster Odds: 5%


8276_mediumJosh Cooper (#88)
Weight: 190
Age: 23
Experience: Rookie
College: Oklahoma State
Note: He was Weeden's No. 2 receiver in college...could fulfill the slot receiver role.

Sure, I am interested in seeing what happens with all of the Browns' receivers at this year's training camp. The receiver I am most interested in right now is Cooper.

The Browns want to make sure that Brandon Weeden has as smooth of a transition to the NFL as quick as possible. Cooper was Weeden's No. 2 receiver behind Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State, so the two obviously have some chemistry together. Cooper will also be bunking with Weeden when training camp begins. The question is this: how much "special treatment" will Cooper receive from the coaching staff to begin training camp?

Usually, undrafted free agents start off by working with the third-team offense, and possibly work their way up to the second-team offense. Does Pat Shurmur want Weeden to have Cooper as a security blanket throughout all of training camp? If so, does that give him an unexpected edge to be the team's slot receiver in 2012, making a guy like Jordan Norwood expendable? Or, does Cooper get treated like the guys below him in this review: he'll work with McCoy or Wallace, hoping to catch on as a practice squad player? Cooper reportedly looked very good in OTAs and minicamp, so he could be on his way to working with the first-team offense.

Final Roster Odds: 27%
Practice Squad Odds: 80% (if he doesn't make the final roster)


8276_mediumRod Windsor (#13)
Weight: 205
Age: 27
Experience: 2 years
College: Western New Mexico
Note: Was on the practice squad most of 2011...good hands, but not physical.

Windsor was one of the guys who had a pretty good training camp and preseason last year with the Browns. He spent most of the season on the practice squad, but was promoted to the 53-man roster for the final two weeks of the season.

Scouting reports say that Windsor has a high football IQ, good hands, and pretty good speed. His downside is that despite his size, he is not very physical and has a tough time getting off of jam coverage. He is labeled as being "one-dimensional." The Browns liked what they saw from Windsor last year, so depending on how things work out with Cooper, Windsor could end up on the practice squad again.

Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 50%


8276_mediumBert Reed (#83)
Weight: 180
Age: 24
Experience: Rookie
College: Florida State
Note: Oddly deemed a high-priority signing by Shurmur...good speed.

As a senior at Florida State, Reed registered 29 catches for 403 yards and five touchdowns. Reed is listed ahead of the remaining two players because, for whatever reason, Pat Shurmur singled him out by saying he was a "high-priority signing." Coaches don't usually say that about undrafted free agents.

According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN and Scott Petrak from the Chronicle-Telegram, Reed stood out during the offseason programs due to his quickness. He was officially clocked with a 4.46 (not at the combine), but several scouts reported him being in the 4.3's. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Windsor and Reed, who are on the opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of size, competing against each other for a spot on the practice squad.

Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 30%


8276_mediumJermaine Saffold (#85)
Weight: 200
Age: 23
Experience: Rookie
College: Missouri State
Note: Seems to have elite level speed on the clock...does not match it with quickness.

During his senior season at Missouri State, Saffold had 45 catches for 913 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also possesses great speed, as he was clocked with a 4.36 40-time.

Sports Illustrated says that he uses his frame well to shield off defenders. His downside is that although he's fast, he does not have an elite "burst" and has average quickness. Saffold must be a guy that people like to photograph; out of all the teams backup receivers, he had the most pictures to choose from (six). Between Travis Benjamin, Reed, Saffold, etc, Cleveland is definitely hoping one of these guys catch on with their speed and ability to stretch the field.

Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 20%


8276_mediumOwen Spencer (#17)
Weight: 185
Age: 24
Experience: 1 year
College: North Carolina State
Note: Bounced around five different teams in 2011...will he finally stick in Cleveland?

Why is Owen Spencer a "rent-a-receiver specialist?"

Last year, Spencer signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent. He was with the team through training camp, but was waived before the start of the season. The rest of Spencer's season looked like this:

Two weeks on Seattle's practice squad.

Two weeks on Detroit's practice squad.

One week on Minnesota's practice squad.

One week on Cleveland's practice squad.

For whatever reason, Spencer showed something on film for so many teams to be interested in him throughout the season. On the same note, for him to be waived as often he was waived, he must not have been too hot of a commodity. Spencer's chances might be better than the guys listed above him, but at this point, you're grasping at straws trying to evaluate these guys -- we'll just have to see how things turn out in camp.

Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 10%

That concludes our wide receiver preview and our "See Ball, Catch Ball...and Block" theme. Our next theme, "Hard Hitting and Klutch Kicks," will take a look at the linebacker position and the team's special teams unit. Today's poll asks what you think the fate will be for Carlton Mitchell and Josh Cooper. Read the choices carefully so you don't jump the gun when voting.