Almost as inexplicable as the Houston Texans waiting until the fourth round to draft a quarterback was the fact that the Cleveland Browns decided not to draft a wide receiver at all. Apparently two weeks before the 2014 draft it was known to the organization that star wide receiver Josh Gordon would be facing a lengthy suspension for another failed drug test. Since passing on a receiver in what has generally been accepted as a very deep class for the position, the Browns have been scrambling to add whatever talent they can to inevitably catch passes from the newly anointed Johnny Cleveland.
Following the draft, undrafted free agents were looked at very closely by all teams and quickly the top undrafted college players were scooped up by teams still looking to fill needs. As the dust settled, four wide receivers were hooked by Cleveland. Willie Snead, Chandler Jones, Jonathan Krause and Kenny Shaw may not be top tier talent or even household names, but at this point the team needed to get receivers and this is who was chosen from the lot.
Continuing to address the wide receiver problem, Cleveland reached into a different pool for talent. This week veteran players were signed. Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Bennett of the Chicago Bears add their names to the list of new Browns.
Austin saw mild success as a Cowboy in 2009 and 2010 by accumulating back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons and earning him pro bowl honors. The 29 year old saw limited play in 2013 with Dallas due to a hamstring injury that kept him out of five games. Austin was designated for release by Dallas as of March 11th.
Veteran receiver Earl Bennett has started five seasons since his rookie year in 2008 in Chicago. In that time he has proven to be a durable alternative target for Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. After a pedestrian 2013 season of only 243 yards and an inability to agree to contract terms, Bennett was released by the Bears.
The Browns ever-growing receiver core became too bloated to keep current pass catcher Greg Little on the roster. The not-so-little Little was released on Friday.
It's easy to see what the strategy at this point is for the Cleveland Browns. They are throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. The Josh Gordon situation puts the team in a tough spot but if you get enough guys out there on the field, you are bound to find a few that will produce.