A # 1 wideout is the Browns’ biggest offensive need in 2021.
The low season expectation is that the Browns will strengthen a defense littered with holes in the defensive line, linebackers and to some extent corner.
The Browns certainly need to address these points, but the crime also has a blatant need: No. 1 broad audience.
That need extends beyond 2021 – and no, I haven’t forgotten Odell Beckham Jr.
However, Beckham is injured when he underwent ACL surgery last November. It’s usually a 12 month injury. If everything goes according to plan. The Browns would then ask Beckham to come back after a year-long injury to help with a playoff push.
Talk about a big question.
OK, but give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say Beckham will play five or six games next season and we’re also playing at the level he was at before the injury in 2020, which means he can have an impact on games, but he’s far from being a 2-TD with 10 receptions per game to be threat.
So after the 2021 season, the Browns will have one big question: will they be carrying both Jarvis Landry ($ 14.3 million last year of his contract) and Beckham ($ 13.75 million) with them in 2022?
Beckham, who turns 30 this season, could be capable of a good game every few weeks, but his days as a true number 1 seem to be over. Think about the recipients you see on the highlight reels each week: DeAndre Hopkins, DeVante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Michael Thomas – throw in Steeler’s rookie Chase Claypool.
Perhaps Beckham’s performance will be different upon his return, coupled with a more confident Baker Mayfield. We all hope this will be true and that Beckham will regain the shape that made him one of the faces of the league, but realistically he will only be older and have a serious knee injury on his resume.
The owners are very fond of both players as Jimmy Haslam named Landry and Beckham as part of the team’s “young core” in January 2020, but the Browns need to make room to keep their own free agents like Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward.
It would be breathtaking to see the Browns use the 26th pick on a receiver. By the time the browns pick, the cream of the crop is long gone. Even so, the Steelers found Claypool in the fourth round last year.
I don’t think the Browns will be using the 26th choice in the draft to make a wideout, but it doesn’t erase the Browns’ need for a true # 1 wideout.
There may be 6-4 LSU standout Terrance Marshall Jr. available. Kadarius Toney, a six-foot Florida American, is another prospect who is causing a stir in the first round for his potential to play under.
As I said before, there is a long way to go, but be careful with your position as the status quo may not last long.