Browns planning for a big year from WR Anthony Schwartz

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When the 2021 NFL season ended, almost every media member and fan had tagged the Cleveland Browns for taking a wide receiver early in the 2022 NFL draft. Then the team traded for Amari Cooper but released Jarvis Landry. The assumption of an early receiver remained.

The trade for Deshaun Watson cost the team their first-round pick, as well as multiple other picks, but it was still assumed that the team would draft a receiver early. Most mock drafts focused around George Pickens, Skyy Moore, Alec Pierce or a number of other pass catchers.

Instead, Cleveland waited until their last pick in the third round to draft David Bell out of Purdue. While Bell played outside a lot in college, the expectation is that he will play as a bigger slot receiver at the pro level.

That leaves the Browns with Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones as their top receivers going into 2022. For many fans, this was surprising and frustrating.

While Cleveland could still add a veteran to their team, they are counting on second-year pro Anthony Schwartz to fill some of that role:

Schwartz was a late third-round pick, like Bell, in 2021. He had a great first game for the team and then was most known for not attacking the ball that was intercepted and led to Baker Mayfield’s shoulder injury.

In 14 games, the Auburn speedster had just 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed the ball six times for 39 yards and four first downs. Of his 174 total yards, 86 of them came in Week 1 versus the Kansas City Chiefs.

Coming out of college, Schwartz was known for his world-class speed but the Mayfield injury and, later, a concussion limited his rookie campaign.

Outside of the top receivers drafted, rookie pass-catchers tend to struggle for the first couple of seasons. The nuance of the NFL game including making route adjustments on the fly can be very difficult.

Cleveland may be expecting a lot out of Schwartz this year but a moderate jump in stats may be more realistic. With Watson on board and more three-receiver sets, Schwartz should be able to triple his numbers while becoming a deep threat that opens things up underneath for his teammates.