Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry took a hard look at the roster during the offseason and decided the wide receiver room needed some new faces.
To accomplish that goal, Berry took to the NFL Draft with the selection of Cedric Tillman from Tennessee, the trade route by acquiring Elijah Moore from the New York Jets, and free agency by signing Marquise Goodwin.
The new guys join incumbents Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones in an effort to give quarterback Deshaun Watson more weapons, add some additional explosiveness to the offense, make it even easier for running back Nick Chubb to punish defenses focused on the passing game and help the Browns keep up with some of the high-powered offenses they will be competing with for a playoff spot in the AFC.
Outside of Watson, there may not be anyone more fired up about the potential of the wide receivers than the man in charge of the group - pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, who is entering his fourth season with the Browns.
Following the final day of the team’s mandatory minicamp, O’Shea shared what he likes about the rebuilt group of receivers (quote via The Beacon Journal):
“It’s been great to add the pieces that we have at receiver. I mean they have been so impressive this spring and their ability to work with each other has been great, so they’re really coming in as accomplished players. … They can run, they can get open, they can catch the ball, so it’s been a lot of fun to see them kind of integrate with our other players and see them just kind of fit right in.”
As head coach Kevin Stefanski pointed out earlier this week it is easy for the passing game to look good when it is just 7-on-7 and there is no hitting allowed. But even so, the work that the wide receivers have been doing is getting noticed by the rest of the team, according to Cooper (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“I mean, even other position groups are seeing it. A lot of plays are being made out there coming from the receiver position so it looks good so far.”
There is still plenty of work to be done before the Browns open the season in September against the Cincinnati Bengals. But an argument can be made that collectively this could be the best group of wide receivers that Watson has played with in his NFL career.
And if they can keep those good vibes going once the games start for real this fall, there will be plenty of opportunities for O’Shea to get fired about what his position group is accomplishing on the field.