2022 needs to be a rebound season for the Cleveland Browns.
Missing the playoffs just one year after nearly making the AFC Championship game isn’t ideal.
Changes have been made, new personnel have been brought in, and expectations are once again through the roof.
However, even with some positional upgrades like Deshaun Watson, some guys need to get back on track this season.
Athletes go through slumps leading to seeing more struggles in certain seasons than others.
There were a few cases of that last year with the Browns.
Let’s look at a couple of guys in Cleveland that need to bounce back in a strong fashion this season.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, Wide Receiver
Fans were suspect when Cleveland drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
He underwhelmed as a Michigan Wolverine but made a strong impression during his rookie season in Cleveland.
BAKER TO PEOPLES-JONES FOR A 75 YARD TD.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2020
THE ROOKIE DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONES GAME WINNER🔥
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 25, 2020
Many thought he would take a huge leap forward heading into year two.
While DPJ’s usage and production did increase, he faced challenges catching the football in key moments.
In the game against Las Vegas, Peoples-Jones dropped a ball in the first quarter that many felt he should’ve caught.
The Browns would later punt that drive and ultimately lose the game 16-14 in a crucial spot of the season.
Donovan Peoples Jones drops a deep ball on the near sideline. Would've put the #Browns in the red zone. Gotta catch those today. Nick Mullens starts 6-7 for 33 yards.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) December 20, 2021
#Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones said he absolutely expects to make that catch along sideline in first quarter vs. #Raiders. DPJ didn't completely secure the ball and dropped it when defender arrived
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) December 23, 2021
The athletic ability of Peoples-Jones and knack for high-pointing the ball keeps the hype train on DPJ moving.
Plus, he does see stretches where contested catches look like child’s play as he soars for seemingly impossible receptions.
According to @PFF, Donovan Peoples-Jones leads the NFL in contested catch % going 9-9 in 2021 (min 4 CTT). He also leads all receivers in passer rating when targeted (158.3). #Browns pic.twitter.com/cdlIxE1Tyq
— OBR Film Breakdown (@TheOBRFilmBDN) October 19, 2021
Peoples-Jones gets hot, then cold, then heats up again.
That’s not unheard of for a young receiver trying to make big plays for his team.
Cleveland needs consistency, however, especially with expected improved quarterback play.
If Deshaun Watson is putting laser beam throws on the money to Peoples-Jones, folks expect him to make the play.
This year will be all about proving he can do that on a consistent basis for the Cleveland offense.
Jedrick Wills Jr., Offensive Tackle
This one is something many fans are expecting to happen in 2022.
A Week One shin injury hindered the rest of the 2021 season for Jedrick Wills Jr.
However, plenty think he can return to top form if consistent, including legendary left tackle Joe Thomas.
Pass and run-blocking grades of 67.9 and 61.5 respectively won’t cut it for a team looking to dominate offensively in order to reach higher goals.
However, Wills is an incredibly smart lineman who had some incredibly mature moments in his rookie season.
Very good mental processing via Jedrick Wills Jr.
– 54 is creeping pre-snap & Wills picks it up
– On Wills first kick his eyes are inside
– Once 54 comes he smoothly mirrors inside & clips him
– Outside pressure is on Baker pic.twitter.com/JqYrL4S9W1
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) September 29, 2020
As Thomas points out in the earlier video clip, they key for Wills is simply being more consistent.
Bringing his best every snap and making sure defenders keep their paws off the quarterback will have Jedrick back in top form in no time.
That’s easier said than done, however, and is something Wills needs to focus on heading into training camp.
If he’s able to put together the effort that Joe Thomas thinks he will, 2022 should be a bounce back season for the third-year tackle.