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Which Role Players Can Kickstart Browns Offense?

The Cleveland Browns have a long list of injuries, and it appears that some role players will have to step up and shoulder the burden.

After an unpleasant Sunday for Cleveland fans, the injury report on Monday didn't make things much better. The Browns will be without several key players moving forward on both sides of the ball.

While there are some injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the offense has suffered some massive blows in recent weeks. Here are all of the current offensive players on the injury report for Cleveland.

  • Nick Chubb, RB - calf
  • Kareem Hunt, RB - calf
  • Jarvis Landry, WR - knee
  • Jedrick Wills Jr., LT - ankle
  • Jack Conklin, RT - knee

Both quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are nursing shoulder injuries, though neither is on the injury report. The offense is beat up, and they have a quick turnaround this week.

Cleveland will play host to the Denver Broncos this Thursday, meaning that the team will likely need some role players to step up and make an impact.

Several candidates should see an uptick in playing time, but a few stand out more than others.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR

At one point this season, Peoples-Jones had run 102 routes and only was credited with four targets. He has seen an uptick in volume in the past two games, and he totaled nine catches for 172 yards with two touchdowns in those games.

Many expected him to break onto the scene this season, but it took longer than expected for him to become involved in the offense. Nonetheless, the Browns will be relying on Peoples-Jones a lot moving forward.

This season, he has been one of the few positives in the wide receiver room, providing an easy target for quarterback Baker Mayfield. He stands 6-2 with long arms and game-breaking speed. Since he arrived in Cleveland, he has become a more polished route runner and earned a starting outside spot this year.

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He creates separation well and is always a threat to rip off a big play. The Browns need someone opposite Beckham to pull through on Thursday, and he should be that player.

Demetric Felton, RB

Running back Kareem Hunt is set to miss several weeks with a calf injury, and while Stefanski has not ruled fellow back Nick Chubb out, there is a possibility that he misses Thursday's contest.

This would leave Felton and D'Ernest Johnson as the only backs on the active roster. Johnson is the more polished runner, but the offense can incorporate Felton in various ways.

Someone has to assume Hunt's designed touches, and Felton could be a candidate for that role. He has fantastic short-area quickness and can turn minimal gains into first-downs.

Felton will be a larger part of the game plan regardless of Chubb's status, and fans shouldn't be surprised to see him garner a few more touches than usual. The staff believes in his abilities, and it may be time to let the rookie see legitimate time.

David Njoku, TE

While Njoku is a big part of this offense, he can get lost in the chaos. He had two productive games against the Chiefs and Chargers, showcasing his impressive catch radius and big-play ability.

The offense clicks into place when Njoku is getting the ball, and he has built a natural rapport with Mayfield in their time together. Njoku could have another big day against the Broncos due to a depleted running game.

Denver doesn't have a linebacker who can take Njoku on in space, so he should get a few meaningful targets as the game progresses. He has played very hard in the run game this season, meaning that Cleveland can leave him on the field for most of Thursday's contest.

Mayfield needs someone he trusts to make big plays, and Njoku is one of his best available options. Expect to see several throws up the seam to Njoku this week, and a determining factor in the game could be how far he takes them.

READ MORE: Donovan Peoples-Jones Shines in Lopsided Cardinals Loss