CLEVELAND – After adding veteran wideout Brian Hartline, the Cleveland Browns seem intent to give their new quarterback Josh McCown plenty of weapons on offense in inking Dwayne Bowe to a two-year deal.
Bowe, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs, is the deep threat the Browns direly needed after the one-year suspension of Josh Gordon. Now with Bowe in the fold, the Browns have an arsenal of offense consisting of Bowe, Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins, Taylor Gabriel, and Travis Benjamin.
There is also the strong ground attack provided by the “Baby Back” duo of second-year running backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. If McCown is able to get the ball to his receivers consistently, the Browns will spread the ball around and decimate teams with a balanced attack.
Hartline brings physicality to the offense as he can be an effective short and mid-range receiver. Hawkins flexible and can turn short gains into long ones with his speed. The speedy and fleet-footed Gabriel had a huge year with more than 700 receiving yards in his rookie year last season.
Bowe also offers McCown the ability to throw quick strikes for long receptions and multiple touchdowns. Andy Reid’s dink-and-dunk West Coast offense hindered Bowe’s production with the Chiefs as it never played to his strengths.
Despite the addition of the eight-year veteran out of LSU, the Browns are still likely to take a receiver in the first three rounds. Based on their current off-season needs and losses at tight end in Jordan Cameron to the Miami Dolphins, and on defense in hybrid linebacker/defensive end Jabaal Sheard to the New England Patriots and Ahtyba Rubin to the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland will more than likely draft a defensive player with the 12 overall pick.
With the 19th overall pick, they may either target Jaelen Strong, the 6’3 220-pound wide receiver out of Arizona State or pass-catching tight ends such as Minnesota’s Maxx Williams and Michigan’s Devin Funchess to replace the loss of Cameron.
The Browns also have the option of taking a flier in the later rounds on former Missouri receiver Dorial Greene-Beckham, who despite concerns with off the field issues, is an intriguing prospect at 6’6 and 220 pounds.
Cleveland may also look at late-round prospects such as Devin Smith from the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes for a speedy vertical threat, Auburn’s Sammie Coates, Maryland’s Stefan Diggs, Florida State’s Rashad Greene or Miami (FL)’s Philip Dorsett.
With the Browns, you never know, but thanks to the addition of Bowe, Cleveland now has a pair of reliable veteran receivers, who will be sure to provide a much-needed upgrade on offense.