Jarvis Landry vs. Donovan Peoples-Jones: Who Is Browns Top Wideout Without Odell Beckham Jr.?

Donovan People-Jones might be the best wide receiver on the Browns now that OBJ is out of the picture.
Donovan People-Jones might be the best wide receiver on the Browns now that OBJ is out of the picture. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

For the second season in a row, the Cleveland Browns will be without the services of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for an extended period of time. This time, however, he won’t be returning. While his fate as of this morning is still up in the air, one thing is clear. His days in Cleveland are over. 

So, what does this mean for the 5-4 Browns? Well, despite OBJ’s obvious talent, I think the Browns will be much better off without him moving forward. As a Giants fan, I’ve seen how he can become a distraction. 

The Browns shook off the loss of Beckham with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9. Cleveland not only won, but their offense looked fantastic. They came out to a quick 24-10 first-half lead thanks to performances from Donavan Peoples-Jones and Nick Chubb. Baker Mayfield finished the first half with a perfect QBR of 158.3 with 121 yards and a touchdown. 

In order to keep the momentum going, Landry and Peoples-Jones have to step up and fill in the gap left by OBJ’s contributions. While Landry is ahead of People-Jones on the depth chart, which is the best option moving forward? 

Jarvis Landry or Donavan Peoples-Jones?

Peoples-Jones did a lot in OBJ’s absence to make me think he could be the future number one option for Baker Mayfield. He was the main beneficiary of Beckham’s departure as the team’s WR3. The second-year wideout from Michigan was targeted just three times for two catches, but he made them count. He broke one for a 60 yard TD and ended the day with 86 yards total. That’s an average of 43.3 YPC. The week prior against the Cardinals, DPJ caught four of five passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Good for an average per catch of 25.3 yards. I realize he only has 15 receptions on the season, but he leads the NFL in yards per catch at 20.9. 

Meanwhile, Jarvis Landry ranks 94th in the league with a more pedestrian 10.2 yards per catch. But, before you start chirping about how few receptions DJP has when compared to Landry, you should know that Landry only has 19 catches this year. Just four more than Peoples-Jones. Landry also has zero touchdowns and just 193 yards. So to me, this WR battle is a clear win for Peoples-Jones. 

Who we really should be talking about is TE David Njoku, who leads the team in receiving yards with 341 and he's 9th in the NFL in yards per catch with 16.2. Between him and DPJ, this Browns offense might take a massive step forward now that OBJ is out of the picture. 

The pair will be asked to do even more in Week 10 after news broke that Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton both tested positive for COVID-19. This leaves D'Ernest Johnson to take the reigns against the Patriots.

Cleveland is set as a 1.5-point underdog in New England on Sunday.

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