Given the expected suspension of star receiver Josh Gordon, someone is going to have to step up in a big way for the Browns this year.
And it might be one of the smallest guys on the roster.
First-round cornerback Justin Gilbert said that in his short time in Cleveland, he’s been impressed with diminutive receiver Andrew Hawkins.
“I’d rather guard [Josh] Gordon than him,” Gilbert said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s so little and quick. Those guys are hard to get a handle on. He’s out there making plays every day.”
The 5-foot-7, 180-pound Hawkins came over this season as a restricted free agent from the Bengals, and Gilbert isn’t the only one noticing his impact.
For-now starting quarterback Brian Hoyer said he saw a similarity to Wes Welker there.
“The one guy I like more and more every day I work with is Andrew Hawkins,” Hoyer said. “The guy runs his routes so hard. It reminds me a lot of my time in New England with Welker, where the guy runs every route to win. He’s going full blast. You see him out there and you can tell when he walks back to the huddle, he gave his all on every play. He’s just a competitor, and I think the more guys you get like that, the better your team becomes.”
Of course, the Browns need all they can get of that kind of workmanlike effort, since their best receiver hasn’t been able to show his priority is staying eligible to play.