Browns’ year 2 and 3 offensive players who have the opportunity to make leaps in 2022

BEREA, Ohio — This week on the Orange and Brown Talk Podcast we took a look back at GM Andrew Berry’s first three draft classes, discussing where each selection is at in their respective careers, projecting what kind of leaps we think they can make and what we’re hoping to see from them in 2022.

In recent weeks between the draft and rookie minicamp, Cleveland’s new additions have gotten plenty of attention as we’ve speculated how they might fit in on this team. But what about the guys we’ve already seen flashes from when it comes to their NFL careers who are returning for their second or third season.?

Concentrating solely on players this regime has brought in through the draft, I think there are multiple players who have the opportunity to make a jump in offensive production in 2022.

For some players, it’s all about having the passing game around them in a better spot with Deshaun Watson throwing them the ball as opposed to an injured Baker Mayfield. For others, it’s about working their way through nagging injuries. For some, it’s about both, on top of simply gaining more experience.

Here are four of the guys entering years two or three of their careers that seem most likely to make a jump come 2022.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones could have his biggest year yet in 2022.Joshua Gunter,

1. Donovan Peoples-Jones

Ever since Peoples-Jones arrived in Cleveland as a sixth-round selection in 2020 he has produced and made big catches. He’s caught 48 of 78 career regular-season targets and has five career touchdown catches — not a bad rate in a small sample size.

The way the depth chart looks now, Peoples-Jones would be the No. 2 receiver behind Amari Cooper, so Cleveland will need a big year from him. In 2021, after Odell Beckham Jr. left the Browns, Peoples-Jones could n’t exactly fill the deep threat role the Browns needed – but how much of that was due to his own limitations and how much of it was due to a passing game that was broken?

It will be interesting to see if he can do that in Year 3 with a different quarterback in Watson.

Day 13 of Cleveland Browns training camp, August 12, 2021

Cleveland Browns center Nick Harris could be a big contributor on the offensive line in 2022.John Kuntz,

2. Nick Harris

Harris is the heir apparent at the center spot after the Browns released JC Tretter. The fifth-rounder didn’t see many offensive snaps last season — just 68 according to Pro Football Focus, all coming against the Packers when Tretter was on the COVID-19 reserve list — but in those looks he performed well. Harris ended that game with a 70.0 offensive grade, 75.3 in pass blocking and 67.2 in run blocking.

Center can be one of the most underrated but important positions on the field, so this is not only a big opportunity for Harris, but his potential production will have ripple effects throughout the offense.

Cleveland Browns vs.  New York Giants preseason game, August 22, 2021

Can Browns offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. bounce back from an ankle injury that nagged him in the 2021 season?

3. Jedrick Wills Jr.

Wills had an underwhelming 2021 due to an ankle injury he has in Week 1 against the Chiefs. He struggled to play through the injury the remainder of the year. A decision on Wills’ fifth-year option will be coming up, so it’s important this season to make some kind of jump at left tackle and show he has a solid work ethic.

After being sidelined two games with an ankle injury, Wills missed two more after testing positive for COVID-19. He finished tied for No. 55 among tackles according to PFF. He also tied for 20th among tackles with five sacks allowed in his 13 starts, and 64th in run-blocking.

Cleveland Browns vs.  Green Bay Packers, December 25, 2021

How much will Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz improve in his second year? John Kuntz,

4. Anthony Schwartz

Much like Peoples-Jones, this is a big year for Schwartz to show how much he has improved by playing with a new quarterback.

As a rookie, Schwartz struggled to stay on the field. The third-round pick missed most of last offseason and training camp with a hamstring injury. Then, against New England in Week 10, Schwartz a concussion and missed the following three games. The Browns have always loved Schwartz’s mental acumen and his speed, so this year will be about whether he can stay on the field and translate those skills into being a quality receiver.

A version of this story was featured in’s Football Insider email newsletter on Thursday morning. Want to become a Football Insider subscriber? Sign up here.

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