The elite speed from Browns rookie receiver Anthony Schwartz makes it easy to envision him catching deep balls from quarterback Baker Mayfield after running a fly route by a helpless cornerback.
That's arguably the first dream highlight that popped into the minds of many Browns fans when they learned that Schwartz, who ran a 4.25 40-yard dash and was one of the fastest players of the class, was picked by Cleveland in the third round of the 2021 draft, and rightfully so. Schwartz raced by plenty of defensive backs in his time at Auburn, but his big plays didn't only come from running in a straight line.
In fact, Schwartz probably made more big plays from different, unique play calls. Screen plays, jet sweeps and other creative calls designed to put the ball in Schwartz's hands could be the key to maximizing his world-class speed.
That's what Dane Brugler, draft analyst for The Athletic, believes the Browns will do with him.
"He's already one of the fastest players in the NFL and has yet to take a snap," Brugler said in a "Browns Breakdowns" video with Nathan Zegura. "It's going to be interesting to see how they use that speed in Year 1 because he can win in different ways."
Check out photos of Browns 2021 third round pick Anthony Schwartz
Brugler first highlighted a play in which Schwartz beat his initial defender to make a 30-yard catch, one that required him to torque his body back to the football and await a blow from a nearby defender.
Schwartz made the play possible because of his speed, but the aspect Brugler wanted to highlight most was Schwartz's ability to spin back to the football and make the catch look easy.
"For a lot of receivers, this is an awkward play," Brugler said. "Schwartz makes this look easy. We know he's fast, but he also has some specific position traits that I think are really impressive. This is an example."
For short-yard passes, Schwartz is still capable of breaking away for a big gain no matter how many defenders are in the vicinity to make a tackle.
This is where Brugler believes Schwartz can do his damage when a defense wants to prevent him from catching deep balls. Schwartz showed on multiple occasions at Auburn that his "vertical" speed can work horizontally, too, which helps him eliminate tackling angles and provide time for teammates to run up the field and block so he can push vertically.
If a defense wants to overload its backfield with defensive backs and stop Schwartz from blowing by them, he can still attack them in the short-game with the ball already in his hands.
Brugler had the perfect reference for one specific play where Schwartz caught a red zone screen pass and carved a lane through a plethora of defenders to reach the goal-line.
"This looks like me playing tag with my 5-year-old and all his buddies," Brugler said.
Schwartz's big plays don't only have to come from a pass, either. He actually scored more rushing touchdowns (7) than receiving touchdowns (6) in college, and Brugler hypothesizes the Browns will design a few Schwartz-specific run plays to keep a defense in check.
"The moment he does one of those things, the defense is going to be hyper-aware of that," Brugler said, "which is going to open things up for the rest of the offense."
That's how Schwartz's speed could help the Browns most. His presence, alongside two established veterans in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, forces the defense to choose where they should put the most weight in their pass coverage.
If the Browns execute their plays correctly, the guessing game could ultimately become a fool's errand — there's no way to consistently defend it.
"It's about opening the field and creating that space," Brugler said. "All these different ways you can utilize his speed, it just gives (head coach Kevin) Stefanski and this offensive coaching staff another toy to play with. It's going to make them a better football team."