New Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens knows the kind of talent the front office added to the locker room when they acquired wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants on the first day of the new league year, March 13.
And Kitchens considers Beckham Jr. to be in an elite class of players.
“His skill set, I wouldn’t say is unmatched, but it’s close,” Kitchens said during a press conference to kick off the start of the offseason program. “Players strive to be on a good team.”
Over 59 regular-season games, including 56 starts, in five years with the New York Giants, Beckham Jr. turned 622 targets into 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. Beckham Jr. averaged 92.8 yards per game, including a league-best 108.8 during the 2014 season.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Beckham Jr. has put four 1,000-yard and three double-digit touchdown seasons on his resume since being selected with a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Louisiana State University.
Last season, Beckham Jr. turned in a 77-catch, 1,052-yard, six-touchdown effort for the Giants.
“Enthusiasm, passion,” Kitchens said of what Beckham Jr. adds to the locker room. “He loves to play the game. He loves being around his teammates.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield is one of those teammates.
Mayfield broke the NFL rookie record with his 27th touchdown throw of the 2018 season with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter of a 26-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North Division clash at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on December 30.
After taking over the first-team offense in the second quarter of a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, Mayfield completed 310 of his 486 attempts (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
Under the direction of new Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, who was the interim offensive coordinator for the second half of the 2018 season, Mayfield completed 180 of his 263 attempts (68.4 percent) for 2,254 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
Although the Browns look talented on paper, Kitchens knows that it will have to come together throughout the offseason program and on into training camp before the team reaches where it wants to go.
“Right now, we’re just a group of players,” Kitchens said. “Our roster looks great, but whoop dee hell. We’ve got to work at it.”