How the Browns Should Utilize Third-Round WR Anthony Schwartz
The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books and camps around the league are taking place. How teams will look for this upcoming season is finally taking shape. Among the teams to have the best offseasons was the Cleveland Browns. Not only did Cleveland sign key players in the free agency, they also put together a strong draft class. Among the most intriguing draft picks was third-round wide receiver Anthony Schwartz out of Auburn.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski loves to get the ball to his playmakers on offense. He does so in a lot of creative ways. Before anything else is said, let’s take a look at how the Browns could utilize Schwartz.
Getting to Know Anthony Schwartz
Schwartz played three seasons in college for Auburn. In 2018, his freshman year, he caught 22 passes for nearly 400 yards and two touchdowns. On top of his receiving production, he was also utilized in the run game. He had 27 carries in 2018, for five touchdowns. In 2019, he grew even more as a player. In only 10 games, he racked up 440 receiving yards. Schwartz’s value really showed during his last year at Auburn, 2020. He had 54 catches for 636 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He was basically non-existent in the run game in 2020.
College Production & Measurables
Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 186 lbs
Hand Size: 9 3/8″ | Age: 20
Career Receptions: 117 | Career Receiving Yards: 1,433
Receiving Touchdowns: 6 | Rushing Touchdowns: 7
Career Rushing Yards: 323 | 40 Time: 4.25 Seconds
How the Browns Should Utilize Schwartz
Unfortunately for the Browns and their fans, Jarvis Landry ages like other human beings. His speed will continually decrease at this point, and Schwartz will certainly not like speed any time soon. Schwartz could end up being an upgrade over Landry in the long run. The Browns have Landry through at least the 2022 season, so there’s no need to make the move right now, but picking up Schwartz in the third round will hopefully make the transition much easier.
Anthony Schwartz Highlights
There are three things to watch here:
1 — Schwartz looks incredibly smooth taking hand-offs. He is almost a running back in a wide receiver’s body.On top of that, Schwartz isn’t just fast, he’s really, really fast. He can be used in the screen game as well.
2 — While his route-running will need to be refined at some point, he’s a great target in the quick passing game. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield loves to get the offense going with quick hitters to guys like Landry, or any of the tight ends. Schwartz has the ability to take those quick-passes and stretch them into touchdowns in an instant. Not only does this help out the Browns offense as a whole, but it should give Jarvis Landry more playing time on the outside, rather than in the slot.
3 — Schwartz sets up his blockers extremely well once he catches the ball. Take a look at 2:02-2:18 when he takes a screen pass, and turns it into a touchdown. He sets up one offensive lineman, then uses his breakaway speed to scamper into the end zone.
The Return Game
Usually, a player that has the top-end speed that Schwartz has, they are utilized in the return game. However, it seems like Schwartz has never been back deep to return a kick. While it’s extremely risky to put a returner back who’s never returned kicks, the Browns should give Schwartz a look. The Browns haven’t had a good return game since Josh Cribbs in the late 2000’s. Speaking of the return game, Browns seventh round pick Demetric Felton could be used there. He has a rare combination of speed and elusiveness that could help the return game.
How Best to Utilize Schwartz’s Talent
You don’t see this term floated around much in NFL circles, but the Browns should utilize Schwartz as an “H-Back.” it is similar to the way Urban Meyer utilized Percy Harvin at Florida and how Chip Kelly utilized De’Anthony Thomas. With Schwartz’s speed, all Baker Mayfield needs to do is get him the ball and let him run. Also, as I stated earlier, I think the Browns should give him a look in the return game, but he is inexperienced doing that, and the Browns have Donovan Peoples-Jones as a guy who can be effective in the return game.
Predicted Anthony Schwartz 2021 Stats
Catches: 26 | Receiving Yards: 300
Rushing Attempts: 18 | Rushing Touchdowns: 2
Receiving Touchdowns: 3 | Rushing Touchdowns: 1
All-Purpose Yards: 525
Overall, Anthony Schwartz can be used in many different roles on the offense. He can be an NFL “H-Back,” a return specialist and possibly even a top slot wide receiver in the league. Head coach Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt were able to accomplish a lot last year. This year, they need to take the next step and really contend for the Super Bowl. If they use Schwartz in this way, then it could be a season to remember for Cleveland.