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Despite upgrades, Browns receiving group ranked bottom half of league

Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore and company are ranked 21st

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns spent much of their offseason upgrading their wide receiver and defensive tackle rooms. With so many additions, it was no surprise that two players were waived on Wednesday and one came from each position.

As usual, the offensive side of the ball gets most of the attention.

With the hope that QB Deshaun Watson can elevate the team to compete in the very tough AFC, GM Andrew Berry traded for Elijah Moore, signed Marquise Goodwin and drafted Cedric Tillman. Berry also reworked Jakeem Grant’s contract to keep him around this offseason.

With Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones at the top of the depth chart, the Browns receiver group looks much improved from last year despite Michael Woods II being lost for the season already due to injury.

Holdovers David Bell, Anthony Schwartz, Isaiah Weston, Mike Harley Jr., Jaelon Darden, Daylen Baldwin and Demetric Felton (who is also listed as a running back) are competing for a roster spot, if there are any left at the position.

Despite the upgrades, ESPN’s Mike Clay has Cleveland’s receiver group ranked 21st in the NFL:

With the Buffalo Bills ahead of the Browns, Clay seems to value depth but the New Orleans Saints have Chris Olave and a lot of question marks but are still ranked ahead of both teams.

While no one would argue with the Cincinnati Bengals being near or at the top of the list, the other two AFC North teams at 17 and 18 raise eyebrows. Diontae Johnson had under 900 yards last season while rookie George Pickens was exciting but only had four touchdowns for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Baltimore Ravens might be a bigger reach at 18. Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t been healthy or dominant, outside of a couple of games for the Los Angeles Rams, since his time with the New York Giants. Rashod Bateman’s best season was his rookie year when he had 46 receptions for 515 yards. He hasn’t stayed healthy, playing in just 19 games in two seasons. Nelson Agholor is on his fourth team in five seasons and Zay Flowers is an undersized rookie.

For Cleveland, Cooper had over 1,100 yards receiving last year with nine touchdowns while DPJ had 839 yards despite playing with two different quarterbacks who struggled at times. Moore had putrid QB play with Zach Wilson last year but had five touchdowns in just 11 games as a rookie in 2021.

In the end, NFL rankings are meaningless but they bring up good conversations.

Taking a look at Clay’s list, where would you place the Browns receiving corps?