The Cleveland Browns quarterback situation is the most prominent thing yet to be settled on the roster, but the Browns depth chart is still rife with competitions at the skill positions on offense. Ben Tate still has to hold off Terrance West at running back, and the battles emerging at wide receiver are intriguing. Throughout the offseason, one of the Browns biggest storylines has been about how Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel will have almost nothing to work with at WR sans Josh Gordon, but players like Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, Charles Johnson, and Chandler Jones are important to keep an eye on throughout the preseason.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that star tight end Jordan Cameron will “dominate” the team’s passing attack, and this should come as a surprise to nobody who follows the NFL with some sort of ardor. But the more interesting nugget comes when Caplan states that it’s “anyone’s guess” as to who plays second fiddle behind Cameron, who is one of of the best tight ends in the game and will have the numbers to more than back that up, given the volume of targets he’s set to hoard for the Browns.
I think the 2nd-highest targeted pass-catcher on the Browns could depend on who is the quarterback, and I could see Hawkins, who has potential as a slot receiver, notching 70 if Hoyer starts. Hawkins is a solid route-runner with good hands and plenty of short-area quickness, but his productivity also hinges on health. The Browns paid him quite a sum of money in restricted free agency to pluck him away from the rival Cincinnati Bengals, so he’s definitely one to watch during the preseason and regular season.
Austin has looked good in training camp, but he’s so difficult to rely on due to his lack of health. Meanwhile, Johnson is a real sleeper and showed some playmaking ability in the first prseason game, and rookie Jones has upside but will most likely be a bit player, if anything, in the Browns offense as a rookie out of San Jose State.