With all of the hoopla surrounding Cleveland Browns‘ tight end David Njoku getting the franchise tag and presumably a hefty contract extension, fans could be sleeping on other tight ends on the Browns roster.
One of the notable tight ends to watch is Harrison Bryant.
Bryant enters his third season, and this could be his breakout year.
I believe this is the year that TE Harrison Bryant plays a big role in the #Browns offense. pic.twitter.com/az71OMZV6T
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) May 17, 2022
What are the realistic expectations for Bryant?
1. More Snaps
Last season, Bryant played in 39% of the offensive snaps.
That was down from 2020 when he was involved in 59% of the offensive snaps.
As it stands, Harrison Bryant will be stepping into a starting role alongside David Njoku in Cleveland’s 2 TE base offense.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 16, 2022
Given that we have been hearing about Coach Stefanski’s propensity for multiple tight end schemes and have not seen it consistently, we are likely to see more multiple tight end schemes this year especially since the Browns are a little inexperienced at wide receiver.
Behind Amari Cooper, only Donovan Peoples-Jones has the same years of experience as Bryant.
Then, there is Anthony Schwartz who is entering his second season.
It remains to be seen what the plan is for veteran Jakeem Grant who can be utilized on both special teams and at wide receiver.
Regardless, Bryant is a tall and sturdy tight end with good hands so he should be involved more in the Browns’ 2022 offense.
2. More Receptions
Last season, Bryant had 28 targets; that was down from 2020 when he had 38.
Both are low numbers that should be higher in 2022.
Of those targets, he caught 21 in 2021 so he had a 75% catch rate.
While it is true that Njoku had nearly twice as many targets in 2021 (53), his catch percentage was less than Bryant’s at 67.9%.
Bryant makes plays when the ball is thrown to him so the Browns will lean on him for more receptions this season.
3. More Touchdowns
Bryant has been consistent in his first two seasons, scoring three touchdowns each season for a career total of six.
🗣 “Harrison Bryant caught it! Touchdown!”@hbryant17's first @NFL TD + Jim Donovan's call pic.twitter.com/PvccVOvb9z
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 29, 2020
Given his targets and catch percentage, the Browns need to get the ball to him more often in the red zone or scoring situations.
HARRISON BRYANT TD pic.twitter.com/sBKKgh8tKl
— BarstoolFAU (@barstool_fau) December 21, 2021
He executes well.
Njoku only had four touchdowns last season with nearly twice as many targets.
The Browns have an untapped talent in Harrison Bryant and despite Njoku locking up the TE1 role, there is plenty of upside and opportunity for Bryant in this offense.
You could argue that the Browns TE2 has been more successful in recent years.
David Njoku’s stats were comparable and sometimes superior to Austin Hooper‘s in the last two seasons.
With Njoku moving up to TE1, could the same trend extend to Bryant?
Bryant and the Browns’ new QB1 Deshaun Watson are getting reps at OTAs while Njoku sits out awaiting his contract extension.
#Browns Deshaun Watson throws to Harrison Bryant Wed. Am during OTAs pic.twitter.com/8U59zDo1oL
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) May 25, 2022
It is evident that they already have chemistry so time will tell what that could mean for Bryant in 2022.
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