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Browns hope young WRs step up: 'They know what to expect, they know what's coming'

This time last year, the Browns had just added four rookie wide receivers to bolster a position group that had been long in need of depth.

When the 2017 NFL Draft was all said and done, Cleveland chose not to insert another pass-catcher to room, which means it'll rely on a bevy of young players to step up next season.

That, of course, includes 2016 draft picks in first-rounder Corey Coleman, Ricardo Louis, Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton, who combined for 58 catches, 698 yards, and three touchdowns last season.

Head coach Hue Jackson on Thursday said he's already noticed a new edge to that group as the Browns wrap up Week 3 of their offseason workout program.

"They're different," Jackson said on Cleveland Browns Daily, "and it starts with Corey."

Indeed, Coleman, whom Cleveland selected 15th overall last year, led the team's rookie receivers with 33 catches, 413 yards and three touchdowns. And after watching leading receiver Terrelle Pryor part ways with the team in free agency, Coleman will be expected to take on a greater role on the field and in the locker room.

"Corey walked in the building has taken a leadership role amongst that group and that's exciting for me to see," Jackson said. "I have challenged him that he needs to make the next jump. Obviously Terrelle's not here anymore, so Corey's gotta go fill that void, that's why we drafted him and we think he can."

Cleveland is also counting on veteran newcomer Kenny Britt, who spent the past three seasons with the Rams, to emerge as a major contributor in addition to Louis, Higgins and Payton, who experienced various levels of success and playing time in 2016.

The Browns also welcome back Rannell Hall, who missed last season with a broken leg, and waiver pick-ups in Mario Alford and James Wright.  

Coleman, who opened up about his rookie campaign and expectations last month, will be expected to shoulder that load.

Jackson said the former Baylor star has put together a "tremendous offseason" thus far.

"I think it's always different for a player the second year because they know what to expect, they know what's coming, they know the demands of being in the National Football League," he said.

"And each one of those players, that's the biggest jump they've made thus far."

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