#BrownsCamp position preview: Young WRs will be tasked to step up

Our journey across the offensive wing of the Browns facility continues today with a look at one of the youngest groups on the entire team.

A few names in this room will be asked to take on much more than they did in 2016.


Kenny Britt

Corey Coleman

Ricardo Louis

Rashard Higgins

Jordan Payton

Rannell Hall

Mario Alford

Josh Boyce

Jordan Leslie

Richard Mullaney

James Wright

What happened at OTAs: Coleman, who dealt with a handful of injuries last season that contributed to him missing most of training camp and six regular season games, was sidelined for the majority of OTAs and minicamp after tumbling awkwardly to the ground following a long catch. The Browns exercised heavy caution with Coleman, the 2016 first-round pick who is expected to be good to go for training camp, because he figures to be such a prominent component of Cleveland's passing attack. Britt, who was signed in March, participated in a handful of minicamp practices while dealing with a minor injury. The absences of Britt and Coleman opened the door for Louis, Hall, Higgins and Payton to receive extensive repetitions as first-team wide receivers. Senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach Al Saunders had high praise for the group of youngsters, many of whom received minimal snaps in 2016.

Under the radar: Hall, who was signed late in the 2015 season, looked poised to land a spot on the 53-man roster at this time last year. He impressed during the spring and carried it over to an impressive first week of training camp. His quest came to an unfortunate end, though, when he went down with a season-ending leg injury suffered in Cleveland's first preseason game. Hall remained a fixture in the Browns' facility throughout the season and was back to full strength by January. He showed the same kind of impressive route running and hands during the spring and is poised to put up a legitimate fight for a roster spot in the coming weeks. "He's come back and you would never know he's had any injury," Saunders said. "He's better than he was when he got hurt. We're excited about the competition he's providing to all of those guys."

Variables to consider: Britt is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, as he hauled in 68 passes for 1,002 yards and five touchdowns. In each of the last three seasons, he's had at least one catch of 60 yards or longer. "Kenny brings an experience level to us that we don't have in that room," Saunders said. … Of Cleveland's three Day 3 picks in last year's draft, Louis received, by far, the most experience. When Coleman went down, Louis filled in as a starter. He's using that experience as a motivator heading into a season in which he figures to have a regular role in Cleveland's wide receiver rotation. "I'm coming off the ball a lot faster," Louis said. "I'm able to use my speed to scare the DBs. My route running is a lot more advanced than it was last year as far as changing directions, coming out of breaks and creating separation." … Alford was a late addition to last year's squad and brought some stability at punt returner and kick returner. He'll have competition from first-round pick Jabrill Peppers at those spots, making it all the more important he shows what he can do as a wide receiver.

Quote to note: "The arrow is up for every one of those guys. Now we just have to keep going and keep climbing into the level that we'd like to be when the season starts." -- Saunders

Stat tracker: The Browns are replacing their top two leaders in receptions from 2016 (Terrelle Pryor and Gary Barnidge) and the next two were running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. Coleman, who had 33 catches for 413 yards in 10 games, is the leading, returning wide receiver.

How many were kept at last year's 53-man cutdown: Six

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