Josh Gordon plays wide receiver for the Browns, so take the following information with a grain of salt. On Tuesday, Gordon declared that the Browns' wide receiver group is the best in the NFL based on talent alone.
"[The Browns] have the best receiving corps in the league, in my opinion, already, just based off of talent alone," Gordon said, per NFL.com. "So you put in the playbook and some guys that are hungry enough to go do it and hopefully you can go out there and show and prove that. That's just my opinion, but we're not short on talent at the wide receiver position at all."
Jarvis Landry also plays wide receiver for the Browns after , so take his response to Gordon's assessment with a grain of salt as well.
Reporter: "Hey Jarvis, Josh Gordon just told us the Browns have the best receiving corps in the league."— Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) June 12, 2018
Jarvis Landry: "He ain't lying."
So, are they right?
If we're ranking receiving groups in the NFL, the conversation begins with teams like the Steelers (Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster), Vikings (Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen), and Lions (Marvin Jones and Golden Tate), and probably also includes teams like the Texans (DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller), Chiefs (Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill), Buccaneers (Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson), and Raiders (Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant). Based on production, the Browns' unit doesn't come close to matching some of the units listed above. Last season, Gordon, Landry, and Corey Coleman combined (on two different teams, of course) for 1,627 yards and 12 touchdowns. Diggs and Thielen, to use them as an example, combined for 2,125 yards and 12 touchdowns.
However, if we're talking about talent and not production, the Browns' group is absolutely up there -- not at the top, but it's close.
Josh Gordon's off-the-field issues, Casey Hayward:, have prevented him from entering the "best receiver" discussion, but when he's been able to stay on the field, he has performed like a true WR1. In a 14-game 2013 season, he lit up defenses for 87 catches, 1,646 yards, and nine touchdowns. In his long-awaited return to the field in 2017, averaging 18.6 yards per catch in a five-game stretch. Here he is owning
If Gordon can stay on the field, he can re-enter the "best receiver" discussion.
As for Landry, he's averaging 100 catches, 1,009.5 yards, and 5.5 touchdowns per season. He's the most seasoned and proven of the crew, though critics will undoubtedly point toward his career yards-per-catch average (10.1), which is a legitimate concern and gripe.
Then there's Coleman, a former first-round pick who's struggled mightily during his first two seasons, catching 56 passes for 718 yards and five touchdowns. Most concerning is his 37.8 percent catch rate, though some of his struggles can be attributed to the quarterbacks who have been throwing him the ball. Still, to this point, Coleman's been a disappointment. However, that doesn't mean he isn't immensely talented. Coming out of college, Coleman recorded a 4.37 40-yard dash. During his final season at Baylor, he caught 74 passes for 1,363 yards and an absurd 20 touchdowns. Coleman now needs to show he can operate at a high level in the NFL. Playing with Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield should help.
Finally, that brings us to fourth-round rookie Antonio Callaway, who might've been a first-round pick if not for , which dropped him to the fourth round. At Florida, Callaway caught 89 passes for 1,399 yards and seven touchdowns from 2015-16 and then he posted the third-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.41) among receivers at the combine. Because he's a rookie, it's impossible to project how he'll fare at the next level.
Really, that's the thing about the Browns' receiving corps. They're insanely talented at the receiver position, but they're also mostly unproven. Due to their natural talent, nobody would be shocked if they end up functioning like one of the best units in football. But they've gotta do it first before we call them the best.
The potential extends beyond their receivers, too. They're stacked at running back (Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb) and their offense features a promising, young tight end in David Njoku. It sounds strange to say, but the Browns' offense looks like it could be a dangerous one in the years to come.