Little caught 61 passes for 709 yards and two touchdowns. His 61 catches ranked second behind Cincinnati Bengals rookie A.J. Green, while the 709 yards were fifth among first-year NFL players in 2011. Little was just five receptions shy of Kevin Johnson’s franchise rookie record of 66 catches, which was set in 1999.
In addition to Little’s productivity, the Browns got a lift from veteran
“I don’t feel like I’ve proven my point because there’s always, ‘Can I be a second- or first-string wide receiver?’” Cribbs said on a recent appearance on CBS Sports Network with Jim Rome. “It’s going to be tough. I’m going to have my work cut out for me, but where there’s a way, there’s a will and I will make a way to get the ball in my hands.
“Whenever I’m able to make a play, I will and that’s the thing about playing wide receiver. You have to be able to step up when the quarterback throws you the ball and make a play for him. It’s my job to go above and beyond at all levels, to show them I can return and still score touchdowns, as well as catch passes for the offense.”
During the 2012 NFL Draft, the Browns selected
Last fall, Benjamin caught 41 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 14.9 yards-per-reception in his final season with the Hurricanes. For his career, Benjamin caught 131 passes for 2,146 yards and 13 touchdowns. Benjamin averaged 16.38 yards-per-reception over his time at Miami.
“He can fly,” quarterback
The Browns had 17 different players catch passes last season and the team averaged 10.3 yards-per-reception for the year. The Browns caught 320 passes for 3,300 yards and 16 touchdowns with a long reception of 76 yards. Little hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass from
Six wide receivers combined for 162 of the team’s 320 receptions in 2011.
Players to Watch:
During his rookie season in 2009, Massaquoi caught 34 passes for 624 yards and three touchdowns, including a 59-yarder at Detroit’s Ford Field on Nov. 2. His 34 receptions were tied for the most on the team, while the 624 yards were the most on the Browns. Massaquoi was just the fourth rookie in team history and first since Johnson in 1999, to lead the Browns in receiving yards.
Massaquoi averaged 18.35 yards-per-reception, nearly a full yard better than the previous franchise record of 17.69 yards-per-catch set by Pro Football Hall of Famer Paul Warfield in 1964.
However, since then, Massaquoi has battled injury problems and caught just 67 passes for 867 yards and four touchdowns in 2010 and 2011 combined.
“He’s had a great offseason,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said of Massaquoi. “I’m very pleased with where he is. I think he came in healthy this offseason and he’s taken advantage of the reps he’s gotten and he’s made plays out here. I think that’s money in the bank for him as he gets ready for training camp and the season.”
The Browns added depth and size to their wide receiver corps with the selection of former Baylor University wideout Josh Gordon in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft on July 12.
Gordon -- a 6-foot-3, 225-pound wide receiver who ran a sub-4.6 second 40-yard dash during his recent Pro Day workout -- spent two years at Baylor, where he caught 43 passes for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. During his sophomore season with the Bears, Gordon caught 42 passes for 714 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. He ranked second on the team in total yardage and finished with a 17.0 yards-per-reception average.
By selecting Gordon, the Browns will not have their second-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
“He’s a guy we obviously targeted and felt good about and we’re happy we had the chance to get him,” Heckert said. “I don’t know if it’s risky. That’s kind of where we thought he was as a player. We thought he’s a guy that could come in and be an eventual starter for us and make plays for us. Anytime you draft a guy, there’s always some risk involved, but we think we got a good football player.
“He can run, has got huge hands and long arms. He’s an impressive-looking kid, but there were some concerns about him. I drilled him pretty hard when I was with him and he didn’t back down. He told me everything I thought I needed to hear from him. He promised he was going to be a guy that we were going to love having in Cleveland. He seemed pretty fired up about being a Brown. When he left, he said he hoped we were the team that picked him.”