Known as DPJ, the 22-year-old Michigan native, who played for the University of Michigan, was a sixth-round pick (187th overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft.
He is definitely a rising star.
Kevin Stefanski on expectations for DPJ this season:
"Donovan did a nice job for us last season. I think you saw his role grow as he got more comfortable….. we're looking forward to what he's going to bring this year." pic.twitter.com/jBmRlP3t9x
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) July 29, 2021
How far can he ascend?
Could he be a future WR1 for the Browns?
The answer is yes, and here is why.
1. Performs Well In Clutch Situations
As a rookie, DPJ found himself in clutch situations, and he shined under the pressure.
His career highlight reel will always have the buzzer-beater game-winning touchdown catch he made against the Bengals.
Not only was Mayfield’s throw spot on, but DPJ was also dialed in and made the catch without question.
Skip your morning coffee on this wonderful Victory Monday and just listen to Jim Donovan call Baker Mayfield’s perfect throw to DPJ for the game-winning touchdown yesterday. It’s glorious. pic.twitter.com/26dE7xAmrR
— WaitingForNextYear (@WFNYCLE) October 26, 2020
He caught 14 out of the 20 passes targeted to him in 2020, and two were touchdown catches.
DPJ has given the Browns a hint of what is to come as he continues to develop.
The WR1 position is within his sights.
2. He Is At The Right Place At The Right Time
What does this mean?
Both Landry and OBJ are 28 years old.
Landry is under contract until the end of the 2022 season, and OBJ is with the Browns through the 2023 season.
DPJ’s rookie contract expires at the end of the 2023 season.
It seems unlikely that both Landry and OBJ will stay with the Browns beyond their current contract terms because of their ages and the salary cap.
That puts DPJ in the perfect position; he will be approaching his mid-20s and ready to assume a leadership role among the wide receivers.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) July 28, 2021
3. Urban Meyer Thinks Highly Of DPJ
Meyer was outspoken during the 2020 NFL Draft about what type of player he thinks DPJ is.
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) April 26, 2020
Meyer believed that he should have been drafted much higher than he was.
While high school performance does not dictate NFL dominance, Meyer’s insight is still worth referencing when figuring out what DPJ is capable of as an NFL player in a WR1 position.
It is true that he didn’t have a blockbuster career at Michigan for a variety of reasons, one of which is he was not featured.
He caught 103 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs in his three seasons at Michigan.
After drafting by the Browns, ESPN’s Louis Riddick said this about DPJ.
“He’s a guy who has tremendous athletic ability as far as being able to take the ball out of the air and adjust to the badly-thrown balls. He runs some really nice speed-cut type of routes, meaning the deep-overs, the slot fades, where he’s making contested catches. He can really contort his body and make some circus-type catches. He has return ability. I think all of his good football is ahead of him because the offense at Michigan didn’t really feature him.”
The Browns under GM Andrew Berry have added players with depth, youth, and speed.
They are also players capable of playing different roles on this team.
DPJ excelled in the return specialist role as a rookie which is a good stepping stone as he builds a pedigree as a WR1 for the Cleveland Browns.