The Cleveland Browns wrapped up mandatory minicamp last week and will have off until the open of training camp on July 27th. Much is still to be determined pertaining to who will lead the 2022 Browns at quarterback, due to the 24 civil suit allegations of sexual misconduct filed against quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns are going to need players to take significant steps forward in their development as NFL players and live up to the flashes of ability and talent they were acquired for.
This is undoubtedly a talented roster, but we know all too well that is not enough. It will take several key players to step forward for the 2022 Browns to accomplish the desired outcome. Although expectations may be modified based on who is under center, there will be expectations. The extent to which QB Jacoby Brissett, if Watson is suspended for a significant amount of time, can take this football team will greatly be determined by the ability of certain individuals to elevate their play.
Role: Wide Receiver 2
Player: Donovan Peoples-Jones
The Browns drafted People-Jones in the 6th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He made an immediate impact as a rookie, highlighted by his game-winning touchdown catch against the Bengals. Expectations for a sixth-round draft pick probably became too ambitious after he put together a wildly impressive and consistent performance throughout the Browns 2021 Training Camp.
With expectations high for the team and People-Jones, his career-high statistics of 34 receptions, 597 yards and 3 TDs seemed rather pedestrian when factoring in the team’s underwhelming results and his borderline spectacular training camp.
The wide receiver room has changed drastically and if the Browns want to take their passing game to the next level, People-Jones has to fill the role of a legitimate number two wide receiver in the NFL. He has the size and athleticism. We have seen him make big plays. It is time for him to put it all together and be a weapon, a threat, the guy that makes “Cooper and People-Jones” a top tier 1 – 2 tandem among AFC wide receiver groups.
Teams are loaded with elite wide receiver talent all over the league and especially in the AFC. The Browns seem to really like their wide receiver room and it’s easy to see the potential. However, they are banking on multiple unproven players to be good this year including rookie David Bell.
A coming-out party for People-Jones would take a ton of pressure from the rest of the room and help legitimize Cleveland’s vision of an explosive pass game. In his third year in the NFL with the same offensive coaches and with all the athletic tools necessary, look for big things from People-Jones in 2022, because legit “big boy” NFL WR No. 2 things are needed.