by Ray Kuhn
Player: Greg Little
Team: Cleveland Browns
Draft Range: 93-ND (All ADP data courtesy of www.mockdraftcentral.com)
How much credit should you get for being the number one receiver on a team that is mediocre at best? Little enters his second NFL season as the number one receiver for the Browns and the veteran skill player paired with the rookie duo of Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson. We do not expect too much from this offense in their first season together, and Little is not an explosive receiver and he definitely has his flaws, but the Browns offense will be improved from last year.
After being suspended for the 2010 college football season, Little entered his professional career during the NFL lockout without a true offseason or training camp. After basically 2 years of limited football he stepped into a Browns offense in disarray, played in all 16 games and had 61 catches for 709 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is a player that will have more value in a PPR league due to his number of catches and lack of touchdowns. For the most part he was a steady performer throughout the season, with one game of over 100 yards and 3 games of at least 6 catches.
Aside from the Browns offense being in flux all season, Little cost himself some production. He dropped 14 balls (third most in the league) and had a 54% catch rates. Although it did not positively reflect on Little last season, it does illustrate how the Browns feel about him as they continued to target him and give him opportunities all year. Additionally, they did not make any material additions to the wide receiver corps, so at worst Little will have the same opportunity this season.
My main cause of optimism for Little is the effects a full offseason coupled with building on last season’s performance will have on him. At the end of May, Mary Kay Cabot tweeted this about Little (click here to view): “WR Greg Little lost 11 pounds through working out and good nutrition. Runner crisper routes too.” So not only is he in better shape to showcase his athleticism, but technically Little is now a better receiver. That should only help to increase his 54% catch rate and put him in better position to gain yards after the catch.
As reported in the National Football Post (click here for the article), the Browns are feeling good about Little entering this season. “Browns coaches really like what they see from Greg Little and think the second year wide receiver is going to step up. In fact, their enthusiasm for Little has something to do with why they did not make a big move at the position in the offseason. The Browns believe Little can clean up his drops because he dropped a lot of easy passes last year. His hands did not appear to be the problem; rather, concentration was.”
It seems as if all signs are pointing to some improvement for Little this season. His 61 catches and 709 yards are a good place to start improving, although in order to truly be a WR3 he is going to have to have more than 2 touchdowns. In Cleveland’s second preseason game, perhaps a sign of things to come, Little had 4 catches for 45 yards including a 24 yard catch where he displayed why the Browns are optimistic about him.
At this point Little could provide good value if he is drafted around the 11th or 12th round as WR4 or WR5. There are other receivers with a little more upside and big play ability, but Little could surprise some this season and become a steady performer.
What do you think about Little? Where do you feel comfortable drafting him?
Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings: