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Broncos roster review: Rookie wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland

Cleveland was the Broncos third receiver drafted during the 2020 NFL Draft. What are his chances of making the roster?

Auburn v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Name: Tyrie Cleveland
Position: Wide Receiver
Height: 6'2" Weight: 209
Age: 22 Experience: R
College: Florida

In the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected former Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland with their 252nd overall selection. The Broncos went heavy at wide receiver in the draft by drafting a total of three receivers and then signing two more as undrafted free agents. This is quite the crowded positional group where only 5 or 6 of these players will make the final roster.

Cleveland is a 6’2”, 209lb wide receiver who played his college ball at Florida. He played a total of four seasons at Florida and had an up and down career for the Gators during his time there. During his four-year career, Cleveland totaled 79 receptions for 1,271 yards and 8 touchdowns. This past season he totaled 25 receptions for 351 yards and 1 touchdown.

Tennessee-Martin v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Here is what The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had to say about Denver Broncos wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland in his annual draft guide.

SUMMARY: A four-star recruit out of high school, Tyrie Cleveland posted 46 catches for 982 yards and 14 scores as a senior at Houston’s Westfield High, finishing his prep career with 2,729 receiving yards. The No. 3 ranked receiver in the nation, he initially committed to his hometown Houston (with Ed Oliver) before flipping to Florida on signing day. He was a part-time starter over his four years in Gainesville, including a few minor off-field issues and near-similar production each season. Cleveland passes the eye test with his defined body and outstanding length and also tested above average, which especially shows as a gunner on special teams coverages (seven tackles the last two seasons). However, he struggled to stay on the field (played a third of Florida’s offensive snaps in 2019) due to his suspect route running and consistency. Overall, Cleveland hasn’t proven himself as a steady offensive weapon, but his special teams abilities might keep him on an NFL roster.

The Broncos wide receiver room is a quite crowded one. It includes star wide receiver Courtland Sutton, first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, second-round pick K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton, Juwaan Winfree, Diontae Spencer, Fred Brown, Kelvin McKnight, Trinity Benson, Kendall Hinton, Zimari Manning and Tyrie Cleveland. So Cleveland faces a bunch of competition to make the final roster and potentially even the practice squad as well.

The Good

Well, Cleveland has the size, build, and wingspan you look for in a wide receiver. He’s 6’2”, nearly 33” wingspan and weighs in at 209 pounds. So he has that going for him. So you have the potential to work with there already.

As for his overall game, he was a bit disappointing while at Florida. He came in with some fanfare as a highly coveted recruit but he never lived up to that potential while at Florida. Now with that said, while never showing as a consistent threat at wide receiver, he did flash potential. He’s a physical receiver with solid hands who can go up and get the ball from defenders. He also uses his size and strength to create after the catch as well. His speed isn’t anything special, but he does have enough long speed to make some plays down the field.

His best trait overall might be his special teams work. His work as a gunner is something that is routinely brought up as his biggest strength. Now, while it’s not the sexiest of traits to have, it instantly puts him ahead of a lot of his competition because the back end of the roster players NEED to play special teams. If he can show enough at wide receiver(he needs work) but be a damn good gunner, he could stick around.

The Bad

Well, you have like 10 receivers battling for 3 spots. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler are locked in for a roster spot. That leaves two or three remaining spots for the rest. I am willing to bet that Tim Patrick is probably safe because of his special teams ability and Diontae Spencer flashed a bit at returner, so taking a roster spot from either could be tough. You also have DaeSean Hamilton who has been a starter the past few seasons and finished 2019 on a strong note, so beating him out could be tough as well.

That’s not even mentioning 2019 sixth-round pick Juwaan Winfree who flashed potential as a receiver last preseason and all the rest of the UDFA’s and other receivers on the roster. So Cleveland faces some steep competition and cannot afford to struggle much if at all this summer if/when Training Camp begins.

I don’t like how he never really flashed as a receiver at Florida. The quarterback play there hasn’t been great, but he never really took that needed next step despite having the size, physicality, and athleticism you look for. He’s a bit of a developmental/raw receiver who needs to work on his route running and overall play if he wants to stick around in the NFL and with the Broncos.

Final Thoughts

I don’t see Tyrie Cleveland making the final roster, but he does seem like a lock to be a practice squad player. His special-teams ability does help him a good bit, but I don’t think his overall game will be good enough or worthy enough of a final roster spot.

The amount of competition he’s facing will make it tough as well. Forget even the final roster, the fight for a Practice Squad spot with this group will be one to watch intently this summer. You have two late draft picks in Winfree and Cleveland, the 2019 UDFA’s in McKnight and Benson, and the 2020 UDFA’s in Manning and Hinton. That’s not even mentioning outside players who could be considered as well.

So, it will be a tough road ahead for Cleveland, but his rawness, upside, and athletic ability/size could be enticing enough to keep around as a developmental project for the team.