The Cleveland Browns continue to put pieces of a 21-year-old puzzle together amid Coronavirus concerns and the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 NFL season. The team drafted a group of young men who look like they can help the Browns; hopefully sooner rather than later.
Among other vital positions, Cleveland drafted wide receiver, Donavan Peoples-Jones (DPJ) from Michigan. He will join some big names in the receiver’s room. Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, and of course Odell Beckham Jr come to mind immediately. But what legacy awaits Peoples-Jones? Here is a look at the top wide receivers* in Cleveland Browns’ history.
Three hundred seventy-five players have been on the receiving end of passes since 1946. This list contains some unlikely names such as former quarterback Bernie Kosar, guard Kevin Zeitler, and even kicker Lou Groza. However, a few names stand apart from the others and are etched in Browns’ history.
5) Webster Slaughter
With a skill set to compliment his name Webster Slaughter spent six years in Cleveland (1986-1991) ripping through NFL defenses. Although his professional football career extended a total of 12 years, Slaughter’s best season (1989) came while he played in Cleveland. In 1989, Slaughter earned his first visit to the NFL Pro Bowl. That same year Slaughter had 65 receptions for 1236 yards. His longest being a 96-yard blast from Bernie Kosar on October 23rd; the longest play from scrimmage for the Cleveland Browns.
4) Dave Logan
When Dave Logan joined the Cleveland Browns in 1976, he had the distinction of being one of a hand full of players drafted by teams in the MLB, NBA, and the NFL. During his eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Logan became a household name. Known for his tremendous leaping catches and his dominant presence on the field, Logan was a part of the Kardiac Kids and is in the top five of numerous franchise records. Logan’s best season in Cleveland was 1979 when he nabbed 59 passes for 982 yards.
3) Kevin Johnson
The season Kevin Johnson joined the Cleveland Browns was as hopeful as it was chaotic. The 1999 season brought the return of NFL football to the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland chose Johnson in the second round of the NFL Draft and during a season full of question marks, Johnson became an exclamation point.
In Johnson’s rookie year, he grabbed 66 passes for 986 yards; his sophomore season saw a slight downturn in Johnson’s production. However, his efforts were a respectable 57 receptions for 669 yards. Johnson’s most productive season in Cleveland was 2001 when he logged 1097 yards on 84 passes.
2) Gary Collins
In 1962, the Cleveland Browns drafted Gary Collins fourth overall and assigned him the job of punter. At the same time, Collins served as a back-up wide receiver. The following season, Collins was a starting wideout and led the team with 43 receptions. He also led the league with 13 touchdown catches.
During his ten years in Cleveland, Collins made two Pro-Bowl appearances. His best season was 1966 when he caught 56 passes for 946 yards, and by the end of his decade in Cleveland, Collins netted 331 catches for 5299 yards and 70 touchdowns.
1) Paul Warfield
In 1964, Cleveland’s first-round pick (11th overall) Paul Warfield came into the league ready to show the world his skills. During his rookie season, Warfield made 52 catches for 920 yards earning himself a Pro Bowl appearance. Over his career, Warfield was a Pro Bowl player a total of eight times.
Warfield’s best season in Cleveland was in 1966 when he brought in 50 receptions for 1067 yards. Warfield continued to play well, yet after his five seasons in Cleveland Warfield went to the Miami Dolphins. Eventually, Paul Warfield returned to Cleveland and played two more seasons in orange and brown, retiring in 1977. Throughout his career, Warfield produced 85 touchdowns from 427 catches for a total of 8565 yards.
Paul Warfield earned numerous accolades during and after his days in the NFL. Aside from being an NFL Champion, a National champion, and a two-time Super Bowl Champion, Warfield led the league in receiving touchdowns twice, had eight Pro Bowl appearances. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team 1970s and ranked number 60 on the 100th NFL Anniversary All-Time Team. Warfield’s greatest professional honor came in 1983 when he was a first-ballot entrant into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
*While Ozzie Newsome leads the Cleveland Browns in receptions with 662 catches for 7980 yards, Newsome was not a wide receiver and is not present on this list.