We covered the Browns’ top four receivers in Part 1 of our preview; in Part 2, we move on to the rest of the non-rookie receivers on the roster.
5. Jaelen Strong - Backup WR
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 4 years | College: Arizona State
Jaelen Strong was a third round pick by the Houston Texans in 2015. As a rookie, he caught 14 passes for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those ended up being career highs for Strong, as an ankle injury in the second half of 2016 prevented him from finishing things out. He was suspended one game to begin 2017 due to violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, and was released in mid-September. The Jacksonville Jaguars picked him up and played him for one game in late-2017, but Strong suffered a torn ACL and missed the entire 2018 season.
Strong is trying to make his comeback to the NFL for 2019 as a member of the Browns. It won’t be easy, not only due to working his way back from injury, but because of the stacked talent in front of him. Strong does have some height compared to the starters, but then so do some of the other back-end players he is competing with like Derrick Willies and Damion Ratley, both of whom have a year more experience with the Browns. Strong has to be intrigued by how Baker Mayfield was able to help resurrect Breshad Perriman’s career a bit in 2018; but again, that was with a club that didn’t feature Odell Beckham Jr.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
6. Derrick Willies - Backup WR
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 207 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Texas Tech
Called upon due to injuries at the wide receiver position last year, Derrick Willies was thrust into the spotlight against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, catching 3 passes for 61 yards. Not bad for a debut. There was a sense of excitement to see what Willies could bring to the receiving group with his 6-4 frame, but then he suffered a fractured collarbone during the ensuing practice week.
It’s funny how things work, though, because Willies’ injury kind of paved the way for Breshad Perriman to get the opportunity that he did. Maybe Baker Mayfield just has a way of making receivers come to life.
BAKER MAYFIELD!— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) October 7, 2018
That’s a 39-yard gain!#BALvsCLE pic.twitter.com/7j8ZXbZbzl
Final Roster Odds: 20%
7. Damion Ratley - Backup WR
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 200 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 2 years | College: Texas A&M
Damion Ratley was a sixth round pick by the Browns in 2018. Many receivers had their moments last year under Baker Mayfield, and Ratley’s came in Week 6 against the Chargers, when in his first game seeing action, he started and caught 6 passes for 82 yards. However, he also couldn’t haul in a touchdown pass early in the game when Cleveland had gotten creative with a fleaflicker:
Throw No. 101— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) June 2, 2019
W7 v LAC, 2Q, 1st&10, LAC up 7-0.#Browns go with a flea-flicker and send Ratley on a deep over from the slot. Mayfield drops this one in the right spot over the trailing defensive back, but Ratley mistimes the jump and it goes through his hands. pic.twitter.com/h0CvYNkfhI
He finished the season with 13 catches for 144 yards, but most of that production came during a four-week stretch in the middle of the season when the receiver position was hurting. After that, he would maybe see the field for a snap or two each week. Ratley is in a crowded field of players trying to stand out as receiver depth, but could be a practice squad candidate if the team wants to continue developing him.
Final Roster Odds: 10%
8. Blake Jackson - Backup WR
Height: 5-10 | Weight: 200 lbs | Age: 25
Experience: 1 year | College: Mary Hardin-Baylor
Blake Jackson’s moment last year? It didn’t come on the field, but off the field, when he did a Hard Knocks impersonation of fellow receiver Jarvis Landry. He did get called up to the main roster in Week 17, but didn’t play. He caught 1 pass in the preseason, which was a 22-yard touchdown. A converted college quarterback, Jackson needed more film last year to impress teams for a shot at the NFL, and The Spring League offered him that:
“The Spring League really helped me with gaining film and being able to send it out to scouts to say ‘here’s what I can do.’ The #Browns got a hold of it, they called me for a workout the next day and the rest was history.”— The Spring League (@TheSpringLeague) July 8, 2019
- WR Blake Jackson (@BHunchoJack), @Browns pic.twitter.com/D7ax86AElN
Jackson spent most of the season on the Browns’ practice squad in 2018, so with him trying to use that time to be a more polished receiver, let’s see what type of skill he brings to the table in 2019.
Final Roster Odds: 5%
If one of these players became the Browns’ 5th receiver, who would you want it to be?
This poll is closed