Training camp is finally right around the corner.
In less than two weeks, the Browns will be back in Cleveland to begin preparations for 2022. We're preparing for their return with a comprehensive breakdown of each position on the roster, moving next to a group that holds one standout veteran and several young players who will have a chance to be big-time contributors.
The Wide Receivers
What we know: The Browns are going to rely heavily on Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowler who was acquired from the Cowboys for a fifth-round pick and swapping of sixth-round picks. Cooper has been one of the most consistent and productive receivers in the league since he was drafted by the Raiders in 2015 and is expected to be the top receiving target for the Browns' remade pass game. After him, the Browns will be counting on Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz and rookie David Bell. Peoples-Jones has averaged a remarkable 18.8 yards per reception since he was drafted in the sixth-round in 2020, and Schwartz caught 135 yards and one touchdown last year as a rookie. Bell, a Purdue product, went the last several weeks of the spring without dropping a pass and could position himself for a sizable target load in his first NFL season with a smooth training camp. They also have Jakeem Grant Sr. a seventh-year veteran who has been one of the league's top returners but is also capable of making plays as a gadget player.
What we don't know: How will targets be divided for receivers after Cooper? That'll all be sorted after training camp, but it appears as though Peoples-Jones is best fit for the No. 2 role because of his experience and production last season, where he led the Browns with 597 receiving yards. The Browns believe he's capable of even better numbers but will also expect more from Schwartz now that he has a year of experience in the league. It'll be worth watching how much the Browns deploy Bell from the slot role in training camp, and if he performs well, that could be where he's featured most as a rookie.
The X-Factor: Peoples-Jones. Cooper will obviously be important for the overall success of the pass game, but a big season from Peoples-Jones would signify the pass game is clicking the way the Browns had hoped. He recorded five games last season with 70 or more receiving yards and has the capability to stretch a defense.
The biggest number: 5. That's how many seasons Cooper has topped 1,000 yards in his seven years in the league, and he'll have a decent shot at adding a sixth to that total in 2022. The Browns haven't had a receiver top 1,000 yards since Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. both eclipsed the mark in 2019, and Cooper could easily be next with the way the Browns want to feature him in their offense.
Says it all: "I do see his game growing. I think his body control, catching the ball and contested catches has never been tough for him. That's just one of the traits he has. But in and out of breaks, some of the things we're asking him to do are maybe a little bit different than he's done in the past and he's done a great job. I think the quarterbacks like throwing to him and that's important, as well." - Kevin Stefanski on Peoples-Jones
How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 5
Check out photos of third-round rookie WR David Bell