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Deep wide receiver class features 3 Ohio State Buckeyes who could add to Browns' depth


The wide receiver class for the 2020 NFL Draft has been hailed as one of the best in recent decades, and the Browns might look to tap into the deep class with one or more of their seven draft picks.

Three of those receivers could become instant fan favorites with the Browns because of their Ohio State roots: K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Ben Victor.

Both will likely be available for the Browns if the new head coach-general manager tandem of Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry see them as a fit. Hill projects to be a Day 2 pick while Victor and Mack will be likely available as late-round selections.

"I feel like that could be a stay-at-home type of thing, almost," Hill said Tuesday at the NFL Combine when asked about a future in Cleveland. "Everybody loves the Browns in Ohio. Everybody on my team from Ohio State who was from Ohio, they were always rooting for the Browns."

So, how could they fit?

Hill, who is 6-foot and 196 pounds, ended his college career as Ohio State's all-time receptions leader. He was reliable in the slot, lauded for his catching ability and could complement Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry as consistent receivers that rarely drop a pass. Hill also served as one of the Buckeyes' punt returners and could be a candidate in special teams coordinator Mike Priefer's search for return help.

Hill would certainly welcome a chance to play alongside Landry, too.

"I love Jarvis Landry," Hill said. "I definitely model my game after him. I feel like me and him have similar types of games. He's just got that dog in him. It's not always perfect, but he always comes down with the ball. 

Hill's weaknesses, however, come after the catch, according to draft analyst Lance Zierlein."He's not sudden or special with the ball in his hands underneath and won't stretch defenses vertically," Zierlein says, "so the routes may need to go from good to great for him to become more than a solid backup."

Mack was a late addition to the Senior Bowl after catching 27 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. His stats in the previous two seasons were similar, but he's still very much considered an NFL prospect.

Victor, meanwhile, is looking to prove himself as more than just a red-zone threat. He's 6-foot-4, frequently won jump-ball battles and ended his career with 18 receiving touchdowns.

At the combine, Victor hopes to show he's capable of having a more expanded role as a receiver on an NFL roster. He never reached top receiver status with Ohio State, but the Buckeyes' receiving depth was always strong while Victor was with the group.

"(I hope to show) that I'm different," Victor said. "I can do different things with my size. I just want to prove that I'm a ballplayer."

That's what the combine is for, and the Browns will be watching. They don't have a glaring need for wide receivers, but they could look to add some depth in the draft if they don't pursue a new contract with Rashard Higgins. Cleveland has only selected one Ohio State alumnus, Denzel Ward, in the draft since 2009.

But Browns fans will always welcome former Buckeyes to their roster. Perhaps Hill, Mack or Victor will be the next players to take that jump.

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