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Browns Mailbag: Who else could step up at WR?

Staff writer Anthony Poisal answers your questions every week


The six-week break between minicamp and training camp has begun, and that gives us plenty of time to dive into your questions about what we saw in the offseason program and what's ahead in 2022.

We're digging into two of your questions to start this week.

Which of the relatively unknown young receivers will make the roster and would the Browns keep 5 receivers in addition to Jakeem Grant? - Rob McCoy, Fairmont WV

A big competition is ahead for the wide receivers in training camp. We know a little bit more about how that could shuffle out after minicamp, but the prime evaluations will start in the first training camp practice in July.

The top of the depth chart will feature Amari Cooper, which we've known since the Browns traded for him in March. After that, just about every spot left will be up for grabs, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz and David Bell are candidates to take the top spots. Peoples-Jones, a third-year veteran, is the oldest of the group at a still-young age of 23. Grant, as you mentioned, will also be relied on and could be used more as a gadget player, but his biggest contributions will come as a returner.

Beyond that group, the competition includes Michael Woods II, Ja'Marcus Bradley, Javon Wims, Isaiah Weston, Mike Harley Jr. and Travell Harris. Woods is a sixth-round rookie from Oklahoma, Bradley is a two-year veteran with nine career catches, Wims is a three-year veteran with 28 career catches and Weston, Harley and Harris are all undrafted rookies. 

Don't forget about Demetric Felton Jr., either. Even though he's listed as a running back, he primarily played receiver in minicamp and made a few flashy plays in first team reps. More of those will be needed from Felton in training camp to crack the roster, as is the same for all the players listed above. 

For future reference, the Browns kept five receivers on the initial 53-man roster to open the 2021 season. That number is bumped to six, however, if you count Felton as a receiver instead of a running back.

Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout the offseason

How is Jed Wills evolving from a conditioning and strength point of view? How does he look to you? - Bob Gillespie, Villa Hills, Ky.

Evaluating linemen in OTAs and minicamp — when players aren't wearing pads — is difficult, but it sounds as though the Browns liked what they saw from Wills, a 2020 first-round pick, throughout the offseason program.

"I think Jed is right where we need him," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He has worked extremely hard this offseason. I thought he came back in really, really good shape, so it's just a continuation of that work, and I think he will be right where we need him to be."

Wills battled injuries throughout last season and missed four games, two of which were due to being placed on the COVID-19 list. He allowed five sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but is expected to take a jump at left tackle as he enters his third season. He's still 23 years old and now has two years of experience at left tackle — he was initially a right tackle in college at Alabama.

The Browns are expecting him to take a big jump in 2022, and that starts by showing up in even better shape than his first years. It sounds like Wills has done just that.

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