Did The Browns Gain Or Lose From A Lights-Out Show By Wide Receivers At The Combine?

The wide receivers ran away with the headlines at the NFL Combine over the weekend.

The wide receivers ran away with the headlines at the NFL Combine over the weekend.

Did the Browns gain or lose from a lights-out show by wide receivers at the Combine?

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Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland. He has covered the Browns since 1984.

Saturday at the NFL Combine might not have been a good day for the Browns.

Why was that?

The wide receivers’ workouts inside Lucas Oil Stadium verified that this might be a historic, top-heavy draft for the position.

And though that sounds like it plays into the No. 1 draft need of the Browns, it’s possible that as many as a dozen wideouts now will be off the draft board by the time the Browns make their first selection at No. 54.

For a team in need of a fleet receiver capable of contributing immediately and without a first-round draft choice for the third year in a row, that’s … just not fair.

In 2020, a record 11 wide receivers were taken in the top 50 picks. Among them were Jerry Jeudy (15th overall), CeeDee Lamb (17th), Jalen Reagor (21st), Justin Jefferson (22nd), Brando Aiyuk (25th), Tee Higgins (33rd), and Michael Pittman (34th).

On Saturday, the wideouts stole the show at the Combine. One broke the Combine record for fastest 40 time ever. And two of the elite three in the draft – Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State and Malik Nabers of Louisiana State – didn’t even work out.

So if Browns GM Andrew Berry wants to grab a receiver to play opposite Amari Cooper as the team’s No. 2 wideout as a rookie, he might have to trade up from No. 54 or hope somebody stumbles out of the top 50.

With seven weeks left in the draft process, here’s a look at the top wideouts in the 2024 draft.

Best of the best

1. Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State

6-3 5/8, 209

40 time: Didn’t run.

Combine quote: Harrison did not participate in media interviews.

Snapshot: Dane Brugler of The Athletic said he’s the highest-graded receiver since Julio Jones in 2011.

2. Rome Odunze, Washington

6-3, 212

40 time: 4.45

Combine quote: “I just think my versatility on the field [sets me apart]. I’ve shown all the skills that can translate to the NFL at a high level and different facets of my game and I think who I am as a person. Who I am in the locker room, who I will be in the community are all A-plus.”

Snapshot: Michael Penix’s favorite receiver (30 catches of 20-plus yards in 2023) enhanced his top 10 draft status with a fabulous all-around showing.

3. Malik Nabers, Louisiana State

Opted out of measurements.

40 time: Didn’t run.

Combine quote: “I would say I’m a dawg. When that ball is in the air, it’s mine. When I get the ball in my hands, I’m able to do tremendous things with it. Create space on different DBs and able to make explosive plays downfield, take an 8-yard route and turn it into a touchdown.”

Snapshot: The latest LSU receiver phenom following the footsteps of Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr., Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson.

Other first-rounders

4. Brian Thomas Jr., Louisiana State 

6-3, 209

40 time: 4.33

Combine quote: “I would say just being able to pick up on coverages [is what I do best]. Decipher what coverage the defense is in and picking up on things fast, picking up on plays and stuff.”

Snapshot: Another LSU Tiger, his 17 touchdowns in 2023 were the most by a Power 5 receiver since DeVonta Smith had 23 in 2020.

5. Keon Coleman, Florida State

6-3, 213

40 time: 4.61

Combine quote: “I think I'm a very competitive guy, high-personality guy, good locker room guy. I'm a guy that's going to come to work every day and gives his all in practice. I'm going to compete, dominate, do what I need to do, and just come in as a sponge, ready to learn."

Snapshot: A basketball-football star at Michigan State, he transferred to FSU and showed exemplary skills on contested balls.

6. Ladd McConkey, Georgia

6-0, 186

40 time: 4.39

Combine quote: “I really think that when it comes to competing, I’m going to outcompete you, I’m going to outwork you. I think I can run routes, I can play on the outside, inside, special teams. I think I’m very versatile and can do a little bit everything. Obviously, the guys in this draft class are ridiculous. We have some more great receivers. But when it comes to doing a little bit of everything, I think I stand up there with all of them.”

Snapshot: A tough player with short-area quickness and super competitiveness.

7. Adonai Mitchell, Texas

6-2, 205

40 time: 4.34

Combine quote: “I like to change my pace in routes. I never run routes full speed. That’s just a part of my game that allows me to run routes for the whole drive. I mostly feel I’m in control when I’m running routes with the people I’m going against.”

Snapshot: After consistently making clutch plays his final year at Texas, he recorded the third-fastest 40 and top broad jump (11 feet, 4 inches) among wideouts.

The next wave

8. Troy Franklin, Oregon

6-2, 176

40 time: 4.41

Combine quote: “I think my biggest challenge [in the NFL] will be play strength. Definitely grown men up there. I think I will just have to hit the weight room a little bit, you know. Put some work in, put some armor around me. That’s pretty much it, right there.”

Snapshot: A big-play, outside weapon who had eight catches of 40-plus yards in 2023, averaging 17.1 yards and totaling 14 touchdowns.

9. Roman Wilson, Michigan

5-11, 185

40 time: 4.39

Combine quote: “[I’m] just a dawg willing to do whatever it takes to win, creative in his routes, explosive, a playmaker, consistent, reliable. That’s how I like to describe myself.”

Snapshot: He had 11 touchdowns on 41 receptions for the CFP champions.

10. Xavier Worthy, Texas

5-11, 165

40 time: 4.21

Combine quote: “Being a speed guy is cool but nobody looks at the route running element of my game. I feel like I run really good routes, probably if not the best in the class.”

Snapshot: Unhappy with an initial 4.25 clocking, he tried for John Ross’ 2017 Combine record and beat it by .01. Also an accomplished punt returner.

11. Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky

5-11, 215

40 time: Did not run.

Combine quote: N/A.

Snapshot: This year’s Deebo Samuel – a receiver with the body and strength after a catch of a hard-charging running back. They called him the YAC King -- a yards-after-catch specialist.

12. Ja’Lynn Polk, Washington

6-1, 203

40 time: 4.52

Combine quote: “I’m different. That’s how I carry myself. Everybody’s always doing the same thing, but me, I always try to find ways that I can separate myself from the best. Trying to do that every day and crafting every day, trying to be different, that’s my motive.”

Snapshot: Has a knack for adjusting to the ball and coming down with it. He had a huge game against Texas in the CFP semifinal.

13. Devontez Walker, North Carolina State

6-1 5/8, 193

40 time: 4.36

Combine quote: N/A.

Snapshot: Missed four games as his original transfer from Kent State was denied, he blossomed as Drake Maye’s big-play receiver in 2023.

14. Jalen McMillan, Washington

6-1, 197

40 time: 4.47

Combine quote: N/A.

Snapshot: The overlooked Huskie on this list, he was Michael Penix’s third option at Washington.

15. Xavier Legette, South Carolina

6-1, 221

40 time: 4.39

Combine quote: "What I feel like I can bring to any team, man, I'm just hard-working and a guy that can be consistent every day. I bring a lot to the table. I can do a lot on the special teams part of it. I feel like I'm a great receiver, too."

Snapshot: A long-strider who joined Nabers as the only two receivers in the SEC to average 100 yards a game.