Heading into his twelfth NFL season, Nate Burleson has evolved into what you would expect from many players with that kind of longevity. He is regarded as crafty on the field and a decent presence in the locker room. However, it is safe to say that Nate’s best days are behind him. His career high in receiving yards took place all the way back in 2004! Nevertheless, Burleson has landed in a good spot, as the Browns are hurting at receiver. Can Nate turn back the clock in his new home?
The inevitable suspension of Josh Gordon takes Cleveland’s number one target from 2013 out of the picture. Tight end Jordan Cameron will be the go-to guy, but Cameron is not going to be able to catch every pass. Someone is going to have to step up to give him a hand. Why not Burleson? Nate has better hands than some receivers of recent Cleveland vintage such as Greg Little and Davone Bess.
At this stage of his career, Burleson is best used in the slot, but before Nate landed in Cleveland, the Browns had already signed Andrew Hawkins to fill that role. They also added Miles Austin, who has a higher ceiling than Burleson if he can stay healthy. Burleson has missed significant time with injuries over the past two seasons and his ability has evaporated rapidly in recent years. Cleveland could have a shuffle at quarterback between Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. The Browns will also be implementing a run-oriented attack.
Even though he is in the right place to find a role, Burleson is a player on decline and not likely to make an impact. He can be ignored in all formats.