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Benjamin, Bess add speed to receiver corps

Posted Jul 3, 2013

Over the next few weeks, ClevelandBrowns.com will take a look at the 2013 Browns, position-by-position. Today’s spotlight is on the wide receivers.

Overview:

When the Cleveland Browns looked to add speed to their wide-receiver corps in 2012, they selected Travis Benjamin on the third day of the 2012 NFL Draft and Josh Gordon -- three months later -- in the Supplemental Draft.

This year, they made a draft-weekend trade with the Miami Dolphins that brought five-year veteran Davone Bess to the Browns.

“They’re playing fast,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said of the receivers after minicamp. “The guys outside, tight ends, backs, everybody is really, really playing fast. They’re running routes full-speed and it’s tough. It’s tough on those safeties and corners who are trying to cover them. When you’re playing fast and you know where they’re going and they don’t, it’s to our advantage. I’m pleased with their play.”

Last fall, Benjamin caught 18 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns, while Gordon finished third on the team with 50 receptions. He also led the team with 805 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

Gordon and Benjamin displayed that speed last season, as each player was on the receiving end of two of the longest touchdowns ever thrown by a Browns rookie quarterback. Weeden completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Gordon at the New York Giants on Oct. 7, and added the 69-yard score to Benjamin on Dec. 16 against the Washington Redskins.

Key Number:

Two, the amount of times Greg Little has led the Browns in receptions since joining the team in the 2011 NFL Draft.

In 2012, Little led the Browns with 53 receptions, which he turned into 647 yards and four touchdowns.

While his receptions and yards slightly declined last season, Little increased his average yards per reception to 12.2 after it stood at 11.6 during his rookie season. Little also doubled his touchdowns total from his first year in the NFL.

Player to Watch:

Bess.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Bess brings to Cleveland five years of experience and is coming off of a solid 2012 season in which he caught 61 passes for 778 yards, for a career-best average of 12.8 yards per reception, one touchdown and 38 first downs.

The Oakland, Calif., native whom the Dolphins signed as a rookie free agent after the 2008 NFL Draft, has been on the receiving end of 321 passes, and has turned those receptions into 3,447 yards, 12 touchdowns and 183 first downs.

Bess’ most productive season came in 2010, when he caught 79 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns.

“He brings consistency,” Weeden said. “He doesn’t make many mistakes. If he’s reading routes or he’s doing certain things, he doesn’t make too many mistakes. He’s a very solid player. He’s a pro. The guy knows how to prepare. He is the ultimate pro, and I think that’s starting to rub off on everyone in the locker room, not just the receivers. He goes about his business the right way, and I commend him for it.”

Benjamin added, “It’s great learning. From coming in early, watching things he does, watching film, how he takes notes, he makes sure if you’re in the huddle with him or he’s in the game plan, he’ll look at you like, ‘You’ve got this route, right here.’ He’s just always (good) with communication.”

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