In Part 2 of our training camp preview on the Cleveland Browns’ wide receivers, we look at players with some experience but are most definitely on the bubble.
5. Ricardo Louis - Backup Wide Receiver
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 215 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 3 years | College: Auburn
The hype train was heavy for Ricardo Louis heading into last year’s training camp after he had worked with Brandon Marshall in the offseason. With Josh Gordon set to be out for awhile and Kenny Britt being a massive disappointment, Louis got the best opportunity he could’ve asked for to showcase his talent. It wasn’t enough.
Louis started 9 games last year and finished the season with 27 catches for 357 yards. Once Gordon returned from suspension, Louis was completely phased out of the offense for those final five weeks, collecting just 1 catch for 35 yards. Embarrassingly, Louis finished the 2017 season as the Browns’ leading wide receiver.
Louis has good speed, but has not been able to overcome his propensity for dropping passes. He was among the league leaders in dropped passes last year, including this one:
Terrible drop by Ricardo Louis on a beautiful ball by DeShone Kizer.. pic.twitter.com/MNWhf1chN4— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) November 12, 2017
I don’t think Louis makes the final cut. He was one of the Browns’ special teams gunners last year, and that is his best chance at making the team. But the club added Jeff Janis from the Packers this offseason, and he has experience doing the same thing.
Final Roster Odds: 25%
6. Rashard Higgins - Backup Slot Receiver
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 198 lbs | Age: 23
Experience: 3 years | College: Colorado State
After spending all of training camp working with Duke Johnson as the team’s slot receiver in 2017, and then playing him there in Week 1, the team abandon that strategy in Week 2. They re-signed Rashard Higgins, who was originally cut, and made him the slot receiver against the Ravens, where he blew up for 7 catches for 95 yards on 11 targets. Almost the entire rest of the season, he would get 1-2 catches per week for about 15 yards. Then in Week 17, he blew up again with 3 catches for 68 yards and the first 2 touchdowns of his NFL career.
I like Higgins. I think he can be an average slot receiver in the NFL, as he has shown good hands more times than not. Unfortunately, he faces a situation in which Jarvis Landry will have that role clamped down, and I just don’t think he is skilled enough to make an impact as an outside receiver. Higgins should stick around in camp in case something happens to Landry, but I don’t think he will make the final roster either.
On the fun side, he did have an amusing “where yall at...?” comment back in March in response to an Instagram post by Jarvis Landry working with some of the Browns’ receivers.
this is sort of mean but I’m laughing way too hard at Rashard Higgins not getting the call for the group workout, leading to this very sad comment on Landry’s IG pic.twitter.com/dF4p9dTfBl— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) March 23, 2018
Final Roster Odds: 40%
7. Jeff Janis - Veteran Backup Receiver
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 219 lbs | Age: 27
Experience: 5 years | College: Saginaw Valley State
Jeff Janis was a 7th round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2014. He has played in 51 games over the past four seasons, but only has 17 catches for 200 yards and 1 touchdown. The area he has made an impact has been on special teams, where he has 22 career tackles and has returned 23 kickoffs for 568 yards (24.7 yards per return).
Janis is most known for his postseason heroics a couple of seasons ago, when he caught 7 catches for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, including 2 bombs from Aaron Rodgers to create of the more amazing playoff Hail Mary’s you’ll see. There are many Packers fans who believe the team should have utilized Janis a lot more during his time in Green Bay. I think his stock will rise in the early parts of training camp.
Final Roster Odds: 80%
8. C.J. Board - Backup Receiver
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 181 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 1 year | College: Tennessee-Chattanooga
C.J. Board was originally an undrafted free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens during training camp in 2017. During the preseason for Baltimore, Board caught 2 passes for 56 yards. He also spent some time on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad last year, and then Cleveland signed him to their practice squad heading into the final week of the regular season.
Last year, Board said he knew he wasn’t going to be drafted, but teams’ interest in him turned up because he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash during his Pro Day. Baltimore reportedly liked his speed as an outside receiving option and also believed he could compete for a spot on special teams. I don’t expect him to stand out during training camp, but he got included at the end of Part 2 of our preview because in Part 3, there are four rookie players to look at.
Final Roster Odds: <5%
Which receivers will make the Browns’ 53-man roster?
This poll is closed
Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins, and Jeff Janis
Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins
Ricardo Louis and Jeff Janis
Rashard Higgins and Jeff Janis
Only Ricardo Louis
Only Rashard Higgins
Only Jeff Janis
None of them