Browns 2024 NFL draft WR targets to give Deshaun Watson more offensive weapons

The Browns traded for wide receiver Jerry Jeudy to strengthen their wide receiver core for 2024. However, receivers Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore are each in the final year of their contracts and depth at the position is always important — especially for a team with playoff aspirations.

Cleveland traded their first and fourth-round picks from this year’s draft as part of the package they sent to the Texans for Deshaun Watson. Their second-round pick is at No. 54 and could be used to find Watson another new weapon to pair with Jeudy now and/or Cooper and Moore if either are re-signed. The Browns’ only other wideouts with good experience are former third-round picks Cedric Tillman and David Bell. 

Here are three receivers that the Browns could target in the second round. 

Ricky Pearsall, Florida, WR

Measurables: 6-foot-1 | 189 pounds | 31-inch arms | 6-foot-1 wingspan | 9-inch hands

Combine numbers: 4.41 40-yard dash | 1.57 10-yard split | 42-inch vertical | 10-foot-9 broad | 6.64 3-cone | 4.05 short shuttle

Pearsall is almost always open against zone coverage. He sets up his routes and baits defensive backs to open their hips wrong with quick fakes. Pearsall has a beautiful “hesi-step” and is great at his “slow-and-go” with exceptional acceleration and the discipline to work back to the ball.

Pearsall can track the ball and make the adjustments to haul in the tough catches. He’s a willing blocker but doesn’t maintain them. On the contested hands catch, Pearsall can be separated from the completion.

Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky, WR

Measurables: 5-foot-11 | 215 pounds | 32-inch arms | 6-foot-4 wingspan | 9-inch hands

The comparisons of Corley with 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel are, as the famous Seinfeld line goes, “real and they’re spectacular.” The height, weight and style of play align with Samuel’s makeup and abilities. While he may not be an exact replica of Samuel, Corley close enough for a team looking for his unique skill set in the middle of the second round.

In 2024, Corley can complement Cooper, Jeudy and Moore by taking running back reps, learning the different positions at receiver to provide talented depth behind them as well as give the team some jet sweeps and other gadget plays to keep defenses on their heels. 

He has a lot of versatility but did struggle against Ohio State to create separation this past season. He’ll be available for the Browns as some teams will have concerns that he may be a jack-of-all-trades but master of none at the NFL level.

Troy Franklin, Oregon, WR

Measurables: 6-foot-2 | 176 pounds | 32-inch arms – 6-foot-6 wingspan | 9-inch hands

Combine numbers: 4.41 40-yard dash | 1.61 10-yard split | 39-inch vertical | 10-foot-4 broad | 6.90 3-cone | 4.31 short shuttle

Franklin was a draft darling early in the process. His value has simmered down as of late and he’s no longer expected to be a late first-round pick. Instead, he should hear his name called anywhere between the middle of the second round to the beginning of the third round.

Franklin has a great shake off the line, quick feet and an excellent breakdown. His routes are sharp and his speed is legit, giving defensive backs issues trying to stay with him.

He too should last until the Browns’ pick as his frame is concerning and reminiscent of former NFL receiver Paul Richardson. Franklin is a body-catcher who doesn’t trust his hands and struggles with drops.

What will the Browns do?

Franklin’s potential and flash plays are enticing but with a lack of draft commodities, the Browns aren’t in the position to take the risks with his injury concerns and drops. Corley may be the perfect complement to what the Browns currently have on the roster at the receiver position but he comes with questions as to if he’s a pure receiver.

The Browns should stay at the No. 54 pick and select Pearsall, though. He doesn’t have the injury concerns due to frame like Franklin and Pearsall also doesn’t come with the questions about his ability as a receiver at the next level like Corley. He’s a talented receiver who can devour zone and become a solid contributor at the position for years to come.

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