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Cleveland Browns: Greg Little Deserves to Be a Top-Two Wide Receiver

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 25:  Colt McCoy #12 of the Cleveland Browns in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their pre season game on August 25, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
John SzurlejAnalyst ISeptember 1, 2011

The Cleveland Browns find themselves in an interesting position this year in respect to the situation unfolding in the receiving corps.

The Cleveland Browns have been, for the most part, flat in this area for some time.

Since Mohamed Massoquoi has yet to see any action in the preseason and given the expectations that he will be able to simply pick up the WR1 position; and given Joshua Cribbs' abilities, players like Greg Little have been pushed down on the depth charts unfairly.

The Browns' draft pick in the second round, Greg Little has shown this camp why the Browns believed enough to draft him as he has posted respectable numbers.

After three preseason games, Little has posted seven receptions for 68 yards and a score, averaging 9.7 yards per catch.

While these numbers may not be astounding compared to other players in the league, what has been interesting is the chemistry that Little has developed with Colt McCoy.

Given the situation in Cleveland, it isn't far fetched to believe that, although Massoquoi has the talent and the ability, he will not have a tremendous impact right away as he has to be wary of re-injuring his foot.

Cribbs is being looked at as the other main receiver in the Browns' camp, but over three seasons has only averaged 15 receptions a year with his main value coming in the return game.

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 19:  Wide receiver Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty
Jason Miller/Getty Images

With the addition of the West Coast Offense, those numbers should rise, but overall, what real advantage does he hold over Little with numbers like those?

Massoquoi's totals are only slightly higher than Cribbs and Brian Robiskie's as he has an average of 35 receptions a year .

A valid argument could be made by stating that the offensive scheme was different, the quarterbacks were limited and so on but this is the NFL.

To compare and contrast, a team such as the 49ers have an average quarterback and receivers.  They have a good running back to carry the team and although Hillis isn't Frank Gore, production-wise, the teams were both almost mirror images stat-wise.

The 49ers' WR1 and WR2 averaged 49.5 receptions whereas the Browns' top two averaged 34.5.

Both teams relied on their tight ends and running backs to carry the lack of production from the wideouts.

To not capitalize on the chemistry that McCoy has with Little simply due to the expectation of an increase in production by Massoquoi and Cribbs, mostly due to the NFL experience they have, is absurd.

Little has huge potential and could bring much needed help to this group of receivers as a starter.

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 19: Starting quarterback Colt McCoy #12 and head coach Pat Shurmur of the Cleveland Browns wait for a challenge ruling from the officials during the second quarter against the Detroit Lionsat Cleveland Browns Stadium on August 19, 2
Jason Miller/Getty Images

If  the gauge that plays a main role in setting the depth chart is simply potential, I say let the numbers speak for themselves and consider the lack of production from the current receivers and the inexperience of Little offsetting.

Granted, McCoy only played in eight games, however, the song remains the same.

Since there is no clear established WR1 or WR2 as compared to other teams, Little should be given the opportunity to at least fill the WR2 position.

With the understanding that the West Coast Offense will allow for improvement to Cribs and Massoquoi by the nature of its game plan, sometimes you have to look outside the box.

I think Little playing a bigger role in the Cleveland offense will be an improvement overall and he should start opposite of Massoquoi.

It would make for an interesting situation in Cleveland and the benefits outweigh the risks.

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