Browns think fourth-round rookie Travis Benjamin can start


Despite heading into the NFL draft hoping to add a playmaker in their passing game, the Browns didn’t draft a wide receiver until the third day of the draft. But the Browns still believe they got a wide receiver who can start as a rookie.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur said fourth-round draft pick Travis Benjamin looked good enough at Cleveland’s rookie minicamp that he’s optimistic he’ll be ready to make a difference in the passing game immediately.

I would say so,” Shurmur said when asked if Benjamin can start. “I saw a lot of good stuff from Travis this weekend, and I feel like he’ll only continue to get better.”

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden loved what he saw of Benjamin, too.

“The guy can fly. You guys saw that. He can really fly,” Weeden said.

The Browns have their top seven leading receivers back from last season, so it’s not like they were without any targets in their passing game. It’s just that they were without any targets who could consistently make big plays in the passing game. The Browns hope a Weeden-to-Benjamin combination can change that.

32 responses to “Browns think fourth-round rookie Travis Benjamin can start

  1. I really like the direction they’re going in so far with all of these new players. I’d enjoy it if they were that “surprise” team of the season!

  2. For the Browns, he could start this year – but that’s because of the lack of talent they have at the position. For 28 of the other 31 teams, the couldn’t, and he might not even make the roster of a handful of teams.

  3. “The Browns have their top seven leading receivers back from last season, so it’s not like they were without any targets in their passing game.”

    Uh, did you watch how these top seven performed? We’re not exactly talking the Magnificent Seven here. There’s a reason that everyone thought WR was a huge position of need, and why Wright was ahead of Weenen on the Browns’ draft board.

    Being able to start at WR for the Browns may be the lowest bar in the NFL.

  4. Eh. Just stick another lineman out there and hand the ball to Trent Richardson.

  5. Outside of Joe Thomas, every position on the team should be up for grabs. They were horrible last season, or have we already forgotten that.

  6. Saying your 4th round pick can be an immediate starter shows just how little talent the Mistake By The Lake has

    And yet ANOTHER sub .500 season upcoming

  7. Yeah we still have no true #1 WR. Little is good, but he is a #2 on any other team. Benjamin sounds to be a great WR in the slot, but so are the rest of the remaining 5 WR. Josh Cribbs will help again, and Cooper may be decent, but it still doesn’t help that we don’t have a true #1. When we go 4 or 5 WR sets, it will be mostly mediocrity and guys that could be covered by a speedy LB, which is not good! We are going to be heavily relying on our TE again.

  8. Benjamin may not be Justin Blackmon, but as long as he can stretch defenses out a bit and be an upgrade over the current WRs, it’s a good thing.

  9. I’m old enough to remember back to the ’50s and 60s (w/Jim Brown) when the Browns were a force in the NFL. They won the NFL title in 1964 by shutting out my Baltimore Colts 27-0. It was sad. (for a day or 2)

    But seeing them deteriorate into a laughingstock is sadder. I would love to see them come back to at least a ‘respectable’ level. Their long-suffering fans deserve it.

    One more thing – when they left Cleveland and moved to Baltimore, their owner had the decency to leave the name and the colors in Cleveland.

  10. I still can’t believe they waited so long to draft a WR. Were they really that shell-shocked by Tennessee taking Wright at 20?

  11. The Browns’ WR corps is one of the weakest in the league, so anybody who shows up has a chance to start.

    A sleeper to make the roster is Josh Cooper, an undrafted free agent who is Brandon Weeden’s best buddy and his #2 receiver at Oklahoma State. He’s obviously not a world-class talent but he and Weeden have excellent chemistry, and Cooper is said to have outstanding hands, which would be very helpful for a team that led the league in drops last year. I can see him making the team ahead of somebody like Mo Massaquoi, a former second-round pick who has been a total bust.

  12. “jackblackshairyback says:
    May 14, 2012 10:16 AM
    Benjamin may not be Justin Blackmon, but as long as he can stretch defenses out a bit and be an upgrade over the current WRs, it’s a good thing.”

    Believe me Benjamin doesn’t have 1/10th the talent of Blackmon. There is a reason why one went in the top 5 (starter) and the other went 4th(back up and special teams on most teams).

  13. I was a big fan of Benjamin throughout his college career. He played as a freshman so I’ve seen a lot.

    What he is: blazing fast, sudden change of direction, a threat to score on any little screen pass or punt return.

    What he is not: big enough to beat press coverage off the line, or a polished route runner.

    He ought to contribute in certain situations immediately, and he’s got upside. But he’ll have to prove he can get off the line and set up his routes to be a full time starter.

  14. You would be surprised how a QB with some skills (strong, accuate arm and quick release) will make the receiving corps better.

    And before you start hating, I know the Browns don’t have the best group and Weeden is a rookie.

    But with TRich teams wil have to respect both the run and the pass, which should create some opportunities for big plays…

  15. I am sure the Browns will be able to get their #1 WR at the top of next years draft.

    And you must be delusional if you think the Brown are going to be competitive in the best division in football. 3 playoff teams in one division and you think you are going to be competitive. At least wait till a window definitively closes on one of them.

  16. 1historian,

    It’s an oft-repeated myth in Baltimore that Modell left the team’s name and colors in Cleveland out of the goodness of his heart. When in reality he was forced to by terms of the agreement that lead to the City dropping it’s lawsuit against him and allowing him to leave without hindrance to Baltimore.

    Other than that, I liked your post.

  17. Wheeden to Benjamin will surely strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses in the AFC North. Not just normal fear either, but the kind that makes you pee your pants a little. The other possibility would be that the defenses don’t care cuz who the $*(%* are Wheeden and Benjamin.

  18. milkmandanimal wrote:

    The fact that a fourth-round rookie has a solid chance to start says a lot more about the rest of Cleveland’s WR corps than it does about Benjamin.
    Perhaps you might want to check out another 4th round WR that GM Tom Heckert drafted a few years ago in Philly. Hint: Does the name DeSean Jackson ring a bell? You might also want to check out the height/weight/speed stats on Benjamin and Jackson. Don’t be so dismissive of Heckert’s drafting ability. He has added quite a few very good players over the past couple of years. Personally, having checked these guys out, I think that the Browns’ 2012 draft may end up being a division changer. We play, we see.

  19. almighty1 says:

    “Wheeden to Benjamin will surely strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses in the AFC North.”

    You’d better learn how to spell Brandon Weeden’s name, since you’ll soon be buying his jersey.

  20. To all you Browns haters…
    Make no mistake, you will be eating crow for years to come.
    Cleveland has turned the corner this year, and H&H can and will bring the Glory Days back.

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