Browns Sign WR Derrick Willies to Practice Squad

Pete Smith

The Cleveland Browns have brought back a familiar face, signing wide receiver Derrick Willies to the practice squad. An undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech that signed with the Browns after the 2018 NFL Draft, Willies has dealt with injuries that have derailed attempts to stick with the 53-man roster.

Willies appeared in five games in 2018, but suffered a broken collarbone in the week of practice after the biggest game of his career, catching three passes for 61 yards that proved critical in a 12-9 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The following season, misfortune struck again as Willies suffered a torn ACL in October.

Healthy, Willies has shown he can at least be a valuable practice squad member, can provide some depth and can contribute in a game if needed. Willies offers good size at 6'4" 207 pounds and is still just 24 years old.

Both injuries he has suffered were largely a function of terrible luck, so if his fortunes can improve, he might be able to offer the Browns some help in the future, even if it's as a fourth or fifth option.

Willies isn't a burner, but he tested really well coming out of college. He ran a 4.55 40, which is the worst athletic test he had. His explosion is outstanding, basically a bigger version of Donovan Peoples-Jones and his agility is excellent.

At his size, that's pretty good speed, but the explosion and agility make him far more interesting. Assuming the knee injury hasn't sapped his athleticism, he continues to be a worthwhile project at this low investment. 

Willies can offer the Browns some ability to stretch the field, which has been lacking this season, especially now with the injury to Odell Beckham.

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