Friday, the Cleveland Browns announced they were placing wide receiver Derrick Willies on injured reserve. The Browns will have a chance to active him from injured reserve before the season while getting an extra roster spot in the mean time.
Willies has spent a few seasons with the Browns including last year and unfortunately too many have ended due to injury. He's had some awful luck in that regard. There's no indication what injury Willies suffered, but he was not on the practice field Friday.
26 years old, Willies has size, strength and speed. He was able to catch a few passes in a win against the Baltimore Ravens in Baker Mayfield's rookie season in 2018. He did appear in one game in 2020, but did not register any statistics.
Willies was part of the replacement cast that played against the New York Jets when their top four receivers were out due to COVID-19 protocols. The Browns lost the game 22-16.
Given the state of the Browns roster, Willies was always on the outside looking in for the active roster, but is likely hoping to get back on the practice squad. If he can recover effectively, Willies still may end up there due to the familiarity and his athletic profile.
Short of an injury, the Browns may already know exactly which receivers they plan to keep on the 53-man roster and the rest are auditioning for the rest of the league and the practice squad.