JoJo Natson, the dynamic returner who spent the past two seasons with the Rams, signed last week with the Browns.
Here are five things to know about the speedy returner.
1. Natson has been in the NFL since 2017, when he entered the league as an undrafted free agent. He spent his first training camp/preseason with the Indianapolis Colts but did not make the 53-man roster when it came time to make final cuts. He joined the Jets' practice squad at the start of that season and found his way onto the active roster by the midpoint. He caught two passes for 18 yards while serving as the Jets' primary returner on kicks and punts. Natson was waived in April 2018 and signed with the Rams shortly before their 2018 training camp. That's where he stuck for two seasons before joining the Browns.
2. Natson hasn't played an offensive snap since his season with the Jets. That's how valuable he was to the Rams as a return man. In 2018, Natson appeared in 13 games and averaged 10.8 yards on punt returns and 18 yards on the six kicks he was able to return. This past season, Natson saw a decrease in his punt return average (7.8 yards per return) but was much better on kicks (22.2). A hamstring injury ended Natson's 2019 season at Week 13.
Check out photos of wide receiver JoJo Natson
3. Natson drew some high praise from Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer during the buildup to Cleveland's Week 3 matchup against the Rams last season. "He is terrifying," Priefer said. "He is really quick. He is the fastest guy on the field. He is fearless for a little guy. When I was in Minnesota, we played at the Rams last year on a Thursday night and he was injured prior to the Sunday night. I do not like anybody getting hurt, but I am glad we did not have to face him. Unfortunately, we will have to face him on Sunday night. He has now become their dual returner so he is dangerous on both punts and kickoffs. He poses a big-time threat because you can't be out of control at the point of attack or you are going to miss him. I told our guys in the meeting today that he can make you miss in a phone booth. He is that quick. We have to do a great job of surrounding him, throttling down, being under control and making a play."
4. Natson grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and attended Utah State for the first part of his college career. He was at his best there during his junior season, when he earned first-team Mountain West honors as a punt returner. With an average of 11.7 yards per return, he ranked first in the conference and 10th in the nation while tying for third in the nation with two punt returns for touchdowns. He ranked 11th all-time in school history with 127 receptions when he was dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. With one year of eligibility remaining, Natson transferred to Akron, where he excelled as a receiver. Natson caught 59 passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns and added two more touchdowns on punt returns. He earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors as a punt returner and second-team as a receiver.
5. In a Q&A with TheRams.com, Natson revealed how his success as a small player on a football field surrounded by giants has inspired others. "I guarantee you if I was 6-foot-4, 200 pounds coming out of high school, I probably would've gone to Alabama," Natson said. "I would've been a five-star recruit with the talent I have. That just wasn't my calling that God put on me. I just had to deal with it. I think it's actually good on my behalf because I get Instagram DMs from guys who say, 'You're motivating me. I'm a small guy.' I was once in their position. 'Man, there's no way I'm going Division 1; no way I'm going to get a shot in the NFL.' But you just got to keep grinding. Make it hard on people to accept you. After a while, they're going to have to respect you."