The Cleveland Browns road to 9-3 has certainly been a team effort.
Lately, rookie wide receiver and special teams player Donovan Peoples-Jones (DPJ) has been playing a big role with his play.
Earlier this season, former Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer says he thought Donovan Peoples-Jones should have been a top 10 pick in the draft.
With Peoples-Jones’ play lately, could he be proving Meyer right?
Urban Meyer on DPJ
Prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, college football coach Urban Meyer raised eyebrows when he declared DPJ a Top 10 draft pick.
The Browns drafted DPJ in the 6th round at 187th overall.
In an interview with Jeremy Birmingham of Lettermen Row, Meyer talked about how he heavily recruited DPJ.
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) April 26, 2020
“I think that guy should be a top-10 pick”, Meyer says in the video.
“In high school, Donovan was one of the best receivers I’ve ever seen”.
His stats at Michigan were okay but not extraordinary.
In three seasons, he caught 103 passes for 1,327 yards and 14 TDs.
As expected, there are opposing opinions about why his Michigan career went as it did.
Donovan Peoples-Jones becoming an Ohio football legend. Huge bust at Michigan, and nothing but big plays for the Browns!
— Ryan McCrystal (@Ryan_McCrystal) December 6, 2020
Donovan Peoples-Jones was so under-utilized at Michigan.
Another example of Harbaugh’s ineptitude.
Browns got a steal with DPJ.
— Tetra Imagery (@TetraImagery) December 6, 2020
But Urban Meyer is a credible source.
Presumably, DPJ has years of football left to play.
Then, we can look back and see if Meyer was prophetic, and the Browns got a steal in the 2020 draft.
DPJ’s Contributions On Offense
Two games stand out so far.
Those are the Week 7 against the Bengals and Week 13 against the Titans.
In Week 7, DPJ caught his first NFL TD pass at the end of the game to win the game.
It doesn’t get any more exciting than this.
THE ROOKIE DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONES GAME WINNER🔥
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 25, 2020
In that game, he was targeted three times and caught all three passes.
Against the Titans, DPJ had a big score.
I’m going to bed tonight dreaming about Donovan Peoples-Jones 75-yard out-and-up touchdown route. pic.twitter.com/g1zVkJApOd
— Jordan Miller (@J_MillerTV) December 6, 2020
He caught 2 of the 3 targeted passes.
Thankfully the 75 yard TD avenged the one dropped pass which looked like a sure bet to be a TD on the Browns’ first drive of the game.
DPJ’s Contributions on Special Teams
Donovan Peoples Jones has also been steady on special teams.
On kickoff returns, he usually averages over 20 yards per kick.
Against the Eagles and Raiders, he ran kicks back 30 and 33 yards respectively.
So far this season, he has returned 62 punts and 17 kicks.
DPJ Down The Stretch
If anything, the Browns will need more of DPJ’s magic on a consistent basis.
With OBJ gone and opposing defenses focusing on the other more well-known WRs on the roster, DPJ can be the guy to deliver big catches and plays when the Browns need him, both on offense and special teams.
#Browns first half targets:
Jarvis Landry- 9
Rashard Higgins- 7
Donovan Peoples-Jones- 3
Nick Chubb- 1
Kareem Hunt- 1
Kareem Hunt- 1
Baker Mayfield- 1
David Njoku- 1
D'Ernest Johnson- 1
Kendall Lamm- 1
— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) December 6, 2020
Browns Playoff Picture
The Browns are currently seeded as the fifth team in the AFC.
Beginning this year, the divisions are taking seven teams from each division.
That means the Browns are currently the top wildcard team; the four teams ahead of them are the leaders of their divisions.
Those are Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Tennessee.
One game behind the Browns are the 8-4 teams, Miami and Indianapolis.
And one game behind them are the 7-5 teams, Las Vegas and Baltimore.
Needless to say, the remaining games are must-win situations for the Browns given how close things are.
After Baltimore, the Browns have both New York team (Giants first and then Jets) and the Pittsburgh Steelers.