I first mentioned Little as a potential difference maker before the 2011 draft even occurred—you can read the original piece here if you wish—and still stand by my initial statement in the respect that those monstrous receivers that come out of North Carolina have a tendency of making significant impacts early in their careers.
Well now I’m not the only one, and camp hasn’t even started yet…god I love my job!
The various news wire reports also confirm the sleeper notion, and my initial outlook
- At first glance, Greg Little might seem like a similar player to the receivers the Browns already have. But the Browns don’t see the second round pick as more of the same. They see him as bigger, stronger and more capable of taking a hit and getting yards after the catch than any receiver on their roster. Little isn’t a blazer, but he does have an element of suddenness in his play that appeals to Browns coaches. – National Football Post
- "…in Little, I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised if you don't know him very well. He's a young man who has a tremendous upside. A home-run hitter isn't necessarily everyone going out for a long one. Yards after catch and a receiver's ability to break a tackle ... can be a home run of sorts. That's where one of his strengths is." – Cleveland Plain Dealer
- "It's the same terminology (as my college offense), the same verbiage, exact same calls, everything," he said. "I think it's going to be such a smooth transition to where when I met with the Cleveland Browns, I knew a lot of their terminology already. I think that's one of the things that I'm really excited about as well." – Greg Little speaking with The Cleveland Plain Dealer
And that’s where we get to the real meat of things folks, because the Browns will have a vastly different look offensively from 2010.
The Browns—like many other NFL teams this year—are switching to the West Coast Offense which bodes very well for receivers, especially the oversized variety, capable of taking hit after hit.
After spending 12 or so years doing the same old thing, the Browns have been due for a change and this change was a great decision—don’t worry though, they are still going to run the ball, this isn’t going to be your garden variety run and shoot version of the WCO.
For fans wondering the end reason why Little is sleeper material it’s simple: Lack of quality competition, and a higher upside in talent.
I don’t see Brian Robiskie doing anything at all this year outside of spot gains, and Mohamed Massaquoi will be a primary deep ball threat in situational throws, leaving the possibility for Greg Little to maturate into the team’s number one receiver by mid-year.
The Tarheels do in fact run a very similar version of this particular WCO, and Little’s stats showed how effective he can be in this system:
|3 years||86 receptions||969 yards||6 touchdowns||In just 252 plays|
I think in the end that ADP might hold true, but don't think you won't be able to grab him a little later in your draft. The Browns will be providing a ton of opportunities in the new scheme, and yes, BOTH Little and McCoy have already begun working together.
Keep Greg Little in front of you as the summer progress and keep checking back for updates; he has sleeper written all over him in 2011.