With Josh Gordon suspended for the first two games of the 2013 NFL season, third-year Cleveland Browns receiver Greg Little has a greater responsibility than ever to finally break out. Granted, having Branden Weeden as your quarterback could turn out to be a colossal mitigating factor, but Little has done a good job of shoring up his weaknesses while displaying his strengths over the course of his young career.
Little was a fairly successful starting running back at North Carolina during college and possesses the post-catch skills to wrack up yards after catch and break big plays. The book on Little is that he possesses comically bad hands, though the area has actually improved as he’s gotten more pro reps. Little’s drop-laden past is not completely behind him as he ranked only 15th in the league in drops last season while receiving the 44th-most targets, but his nine drops did represented a marked improvement upon his 14 in 2011.
If the 6-2, 230-pound receiver can use his agility and running savvy in a way that improves upon his 3.8 average yards after catch, then Little could certainly bump his 647-yard mark last season to a 1,000-yard campaign, especially if he takes advantage of the time Gordon spends out. Those two contests come against the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens, which could feature a couple major challenges for Little in Brent Grimes and Lardarius Webb. The dramatic overhauls in each secondary, on the other hand, could very well help Little break a big play or two.
Few players in the league this year could use a great start under their new head coach as much as Little under former Carolina Panthers offensive guru Rob Chudzinski.