There's breakout potential for third-year receiver Peoples-Jones. Sure, his 2021 stats aren't anything to write home about, but his top-two finish in Air Yards per target (15.4) meshed with his 24.1% explosive play rate (11th best among receivers) certainly suggests Peoples-Jones can be a big-play factor. And considering the Browns new quarterback, that's a pretty tempting role to be in. His target share also figures to rise considering the multiple departures from the Cleveland offense. The 6-foot-2 receiver is worth a flier with a pick after Round 10.
Peoples-Jones brought in three of four targets for 38 yards in the Browns' 21-16 win over the Bengals on Sunday. He also committed a fumble that was recovered by Cleveland and returned four punts for 20 yards. The promising speedster checked in second in receptions, receiving yards and targets to Jarvis Landry to finish off the season in relatively quiet fashion. Peoples-Jones did take a step forward in his development in 2021, however, finishing with a 34-597-3 line across 13 games. With Odell Beckham in Los Angeles and Landry a 29-year-old possession receiver, the opportunity appears to be there for Peoples-Jones to step up and assert himself as a consistent downfield threat next season.
Peoples-Jones caught three of five targets for 76 yards in Monday night's 26-14 loss to the Steelers. Peoples-Jones led the Browns in receiving yards thanks to a game-long, 39-yard reception in the second half. That play helped set up a David Njoku touchdown, and Peoples-Jones trailed only Jarvis Landry's and Njoku's four receptions on the night for the Browns. Having shown a penchant for occasional splash plays this season, Peoples-Jones will strive to make a similar impact in Week 18 versus the Bengals, a team he scored a 60-yard touchdown against earlier this season.
Peoples-Jones could see his role decrease over the final two weeks as Cleveland gives Anthony Schwartz more work, Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. "I think for sure with Anthony coming off the concussion protocol and getting into these games, getting him some touches, I think his role will grow," coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. Schwartz returned from a three-game absence due to a concussion to play a scaled-back role the last two games and caught a touchdown on his lone target in Week 16's loss to the Packers. The rookie speedster is similar to Peoples-Jones in that both are considered downfield threats, so it would seem natural any increase in Schwartz's role would come at the expense of Peoples-Jones' snap count. The second-year wideout caught just one of five targets for five yards last week and has a 44 percent catch rate (15 of 34 targets) over the last six games as the team's primary downfield option.
Peoples-Jones caught one pass for five yards on six targets against Green Bay on Sunday. Peoples-Jones was dealt some bad luck in this one -- two of his targets resulted in interceptions for reasons that weren't really his fault -- but he also dropped an on-target deep ball from Baker Mayfield that might have changed the course of the game somewhat. The Browns need Peoples-Jones' speed on the field to complement the more possession-wideout skill sets of Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins, so DPJ should get opportunities to make up for this one, but for now it's a rather regrettable game in his 2021 season. The Browns face the Steelers in Week 17.
Peoples-Jones caught four of eight targets for 48 yards in Monday's 16-14 loss to the Raiders. Peoples-Jones led the team in targets and receiving yards, as he was the top receiving option for quarterback Nick Mullens with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, as well as quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, all on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Raiders defensive back Brandon Facyson knocked the ball out of Peoples-Jones' hand to prevent what should have been a big gain along the sideline in the first half, but he heated up late and converted two crucial third downs on Cleveland's go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. Peoples-Jones also served as the primary punt returner, one week after rookie Demetric Felton muffed a pair of kicks in last week's win over the Ravens. If Landry isn't ready to return Week 16 against the Packers, Peoples-Jones will remain atop the Browns' wide receiver depth chart.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/18||New York Jets||13||20.65|
|5||10/09||Los Angeles Chargers||2||17.00|
|6||10/16||New England Patriots||5||18.56|
|12||11/27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||20.53|
|16||12/24||New Orleans Saints||15||20.94|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||39||24||450||2||18||18.75||57|