The Browns’ wide receivers are lacking in neither talent nor confidence.
The former of those dynamics has been clear since Cleveland opened offseason workouts earlier this spring, featuring a new-look unit that includes Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry, Josh Gordon, first-round pick Corey Coleman and promising rookie Antonio Callaway.
The latter was apparent Tuesday before the start of mandatory veteran minicamp, when both Gordon and Landry described their room as among the league’s best.
“We have the best receiving corps in the league, in my opinion, already, just based off of talent alone," said Gordon, the league’s leading receiver in 2013 who returned from a multi-year suspension last December.
“He ain’t lying,” added Landry, the former Dolphins star and three-time Pro Bowler whom the team traded for in March.
Potential, of course, only means so much if it doesn’t turn into production.
A year ago, Cleveland's receivers were among the team’s largest disappointments amid a winless season. Fast forward and the group could be one of the Browns’ bigger strengths in 2018, paired with veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, dynamic running back Duke Johnson Jr. and a run game expected to make strides with Johnson, Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb.
Landry, for starters, has emerged as one of the NFL’s best pass catchers since the Dolphins selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He led the league with 112 catches last season and his 400 receptions are the most by any NFL player through their first four seasons.
Gordon, meanwhile, is something of a physical freak with the frame of a small forward and speed of a sprinter. Suspended since 2015 for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, he returned to action last season and caught 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown in five games.
Coleman, the 15th-overall pick in 2016, has flashed the talent that made him college football’s top receiver at Baylor but missed significant time with back-to-back hand injuries. Callaway, considered a first-round talent by general manager John Dorsey and other draft evaluators, was electric at Florida in his limited opportunities.
Cleveland, of course, also returns 2016 draft picks in Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins. The Browns also added former Packers receiver Jeff Janis in free agency and drafted former Texas A&M standout Damion Ratley in the sixth round.
Gordon, the team’s longest-tenured player, sees a position group that’s bonding on and off the field as offseason workouts draw to a close this week. “As a receiving unit, we’re a close-knit group of guys,” he said, adding Landry’s addition was a natural fit. “We’re all together, normally, and he came in and made that group more tightly knit. He is a natural fit for us.”
Landry believes that chemistry will carry into training camp and, eventually, the season.
“We’re playing to our strengths and playing to our ability,” he said. “We're just really showing a lot of flashes. I think the capability of what we all can do is endless. We can only, obviously, beat ourselves at this point.”
The Browns hold practice on the first day of veteran minicamp.