In Part 2 of our Cleveland Browns training camp preview on the wide receiver position, we looked at the four receivers who either have some years of experience in the league, or who Cleveland placed an investment on in this year's rookie class. In Part 3, we investigate the final four receivers in camp, including one who a lot of fans will be paying particular attention to.
10. TERRELLE PRYOR - TRANSITIONING TO WIDE RECEIVER
When the Browns signed Terrelle Pryor, 57% of fans liked the move because it was a "bit potential, low risk" type of move. What that poll fails to clarify is what the fans' expectations should be for Pryor in camp, but I'll give my input: it will be a fun story to watch his development, but he has virtually no shot at making the roster.
Pryor has great athleticism for his size, making him a compelling prospect at wide receiver. It's fun to fantasize about him emerging as a stud receiver, but if that is ever going to happen, it's not going to happen overnight. He is training with Randy Moss and Antonio Brown in the weeks leading up to training camp, but when it comes to catching the ball, running routes, being jammed and hit by defenses, etc, he's years behind even the players at the bottom of the Browns' depth chart.
A key in camp is for fans to enjoy the thrill that Pryor will provide, but to not get too carried away. For example -- sure, he made a one-handed catch, but I know I can do that relatively often, as I'm sure many of the readers of this blog could too. If the coaching staff looks and Pryor's development at wide receiver and are impressed with the strides he's made in such a short period of time,
then he would be a great candidate for one of the two veteran roster spots available on the practice squad. He could also serve as an extra camp arm or a scout team quarterback for mobile players. That's what he's really fighting for this season.
Update: Upon further examination of Pryor's history, it looks like he misses the practice squad eligibility rule by three games from his 2013 season.
Final Roster Odds: ~1%
11. SHANE WYNN - SMALLEST WIDE RECEIVER
The Browns claimed undrafted free agent receiver Shane Wynn off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons in mid-June. Wynn will be another interesting prospect for fans to follow since he's a local kid. The 5-6, 167-pound receiver went to Glenville High School in Cleveland, OH, and attended Indiana for college.
The Browns had a private workout with Wynn prior to this year's draft. When he went undrafted, the team wanted to sign him, be Wynn made the business decision to sign with the Falcons instead. Wynn ran a lighting-fast 4.29 40-yard dash at Indiana's pro day. He also has experience returning kickoffs and punts, so you can expect him to enter Cleveland's special teams competition come training camp.
In an interesting wrinkle, Wynn was studying the Browns' offense this offseason while he was with the Falcons, because former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is in Atlanta now. Last year, I made the mistake of saying that Taylor Gabriel had no shot of making the roster because Andrew Hawkins was already filling the slot/small type of receiver role. I was dead wrong, but that doesn't mean it's going to be an every-year occurrence, so I'm using the same logic again this year. The Browns have two receivers who fill the type of role that Wynn would on offense, so there is no room for him there. He'll fight for a spot on the practice squad with an outside shot of contending on kickoff or punt returns.
Final Roster Odds: ~2.5%
12. DARIUS JENNINGS - TALLER SMALLER WIDE RECEIVER
(For those wondering, yes, the title is intentional). Darius Jennings was signed by the Browns after attending rookie minicamp in May. Although he's taller than the likes of Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, and Shane Wynn, he only weighs 169 pounds, making him about the same size as Travis Benjamin.
Jennings wasn't widely known heading into the draft, but our Seahawks affiliate offered this pre-draft scouting report of him:
On the other hand, Virginia holds two players currently ranked OUT of the top 1000 that I would actually draft. At WR, Darius Jennings is this year’s Doug Baldwin. Similar size, Jennings perhaps a bit more SPARQ’d up, and Jennings arguably the better return-man (13th in the country at 27.08 YPR). Jennings also has top 15 National marks in yards per catch (19.30). You could make a case for Jennings being a poor-man’s Tyler Lockett in this class.
He's got good speed, and DBN's Tim Miller commented on how he's impressed with the receiver's blocking ability. If we are to think that Travis Benjamin's roster spot is in jeopardy, could Jennings take on his type of role instead with more years and a cleaner bill of health ahead of him?
Final Roster Odds: ~2.5%
13. JOSH LENZ - PRACTICE SQUAD WIDE RECEIVER
Josh Lenz was an undrafted free agent who was signed by the Chicago Bears in 2013. He was off-and-on the Seahawks' practice squad in 2013 before being signed to the Colts' practice squad and even got called up for a playoff game at the end of the season.
Lenz was on the Colts' practice squad for all of last season, but was waived by the team at the end of May, allowing the Browns to claim him off waivers. As Browns.com points out, Lenz has some athleticism that could turn heads in camp:
Lenz wasn’t exactly a star receiver for the Cyclones, but at his Pro Day in 2013 he ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and leaped 38.5 inches in the vertical jump. Lenz has the athletic ability to be a potential diamond in the rough.
Lenz showed enough to be kept on the Colts' practice squad for almost two years, but there is so much competition in camp that it'll be hard for any of the guys in today's preview to make an impact if they don't have a niche that stands out. Lenz' niche could be using his combination of size/speed to out-work Cleveland's third-team defensive backs. He'll have to do that early in camp to have a shot at moving on the depth chart and earning a spot on the practice squad.
Final Roster Odds: ~1%
We've already had a poll in the past about Terrelle Pryor, so our poll asks about which of the other three receivers you are intrigued by.