In Part 3 of our wide receiver training camp preview for the Cleveland Browns, we look at Ryan Switzer, Derrick Willies, and Alexander Hollins.
9. Ryan Switzer - Backup WR
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 183 lbs | Age: 26
Experience: 4 years | College: North Carolina
Ryan Switzer was originally a 4th round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2017. In his young career, he’s been utilized as a trade chip twice, first being traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2018, and then traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers later that offseason. Switzer saw significant action as the Cowboys’ and Steelers’ primary return man for three years. As a receiver, Switzer’s biggest season came in 2018, when he had 36 catches for 253 yards and 1 touchdown.
Switzer signed to the Browns’ practice squad last October, following the season-ending injury to JoJo Natson. The team considered making him their returner, but instead opted to leave D’Ernest Johnson and Donovan Peoples-Jones in those roles. He did not end up seeing any action with the Browns by the end of the season, but he is being brought back for training camp. It’s a bit unique that Cleveland has two players in camp who are “return specialists” — Natson and Switzer — but at the end of the day, Cleveland might just stick with the tandem of Johnson and Peoples-Jones.
Final Roster Odds: <5%
10. Derrick Willies - Backup WR
Height: 6-4 | Weight: 207 lbs | Age: 26
Experience: 2 years | College: Texas Tech
Derrick Willies was one of those players who fans were excited about as an undrafted free agent back in 2018. Willies got his shot in 2018 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, when he caught 3 passes for 61 yards. With two minutes left in overtime in that game, Mayfield hit Willies for 39 yards to set up the game-winning field goal. Later that week, he tore his ACL during practice.
Willies caught 6 passes for 74 yards and 1 touchdown during the 2019 preseason and was on the practice squad all year. Although he wasn’t in camp for 2020, Andrew Berry re-signed to the practice squad in November 2020. I thought that Mayfield and Willies’ light experience together would pay off when Willies was called up during the team’s COVID-19 situation in Week 16, but he barely played. Willies is still a bit of an unknown to this coaching staff, but with his size and past potential, he figures to have a fighting chance to make the practice squad.
Final Roster Odds: <1%
11. Alexander Hollins - Backup WR
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 166 lbs | Age: 24
Experience: 1 year | College: Eastern Illinois
Following the Browns’ wide receiver debacle in Week 16 last year, the Browns signed Alexander Hollins off of the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad. An undrafted free agent in 2019, Hollins spent the year with the Vikings, meaning head coach Kevin Stefanski is familiar with him.
At the time of the signing, Stefanski said, “Alexander is somebody that I have some experience with and kind of just told Andrew [Berry] and his group what you are getting — tough receiver, good speed, knows the system.” While that stuff may be true, I still believe the signing was made in the event that the Browns’ receivers were out another week due to COVID-19. His size is not typical for NFL receivers, at 6-0 but a slender frame at 166 lb. That would be like me being in the NFL. He has good measurables and impressed Stefanski enough to warrant playing time late in 2019 (2 catches for 46 yards in 5 games). He should be competing for a practice squad spot in Cleveland.
I know Alexander Hollins had a big dropped today, but I like his potential. I think he could be the next UDFA gem that Spielman always seems to find. pic.twitter.com/de1g61PeNI— Seth Mitzel (@SkolMitzel) January 6, 2020
Final Roster Odds: <1%
If one of these receivers could stick around on the practice squad, who should it be?
This poll is closed