Browns Sign Former USFL Standout After Rash of Injuries

Derrick Dillon

Getty Images New Cleveland Browns receiver Derrick Dillon.

The Cleveland Browns have signed wide receiver Derrick Dillon after a bevy of training camp injuries depleted the team’s depth.

Dillon doesn’t come with any NFL experience but did spend time on the New York Giants practice squad last season. The former LSU standout earned some experience in the USFL, notching 28 catches for 386 yards — good for sixth overall in the first-year league. He played for the Tampa Bay Bandits, which finished the season 4-6.

Dillon took the spot of Isaiah Weston, who was waived on Monday after suffering what is feared to be a torn ACL, per Weston was an undrafted free agent but an intriguing training camp prospect for the Browns. At 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, Weston is a big-bodied wide receiver with a high level of athleticism, running his 40-yard dash at the combine in 4.42 seconds.

Dillon is 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, so he’s a different type of receiver than Weston but his quickness could become something the Browns value. He ran a 4.29 in a 40-yard dash at his virtual Pro Day.

Browns Get Injury Scare With Amari Cooper

The Browns also have rookie David Bell on the PUP list and second-year speedster Anthony Schwartz is dealing with a knee injury, although it doesn’t appear serious.

There was a scary moment in camp on Monday as Amari Cooper — the team’s No. 1 receiver — went down and has his ankle attended to by trainers. Head coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t have an update when he spoke to the media.

“I haven’t gotten the full report. I’ll update you guys tomorrow,” he said.

The Browns previously said they felt good at the position despite the injuries but clearly needed another pair of hands on the depth chart for camp.

While injuries are something you never want to see at camp, some of the younger wide receivers have been able to get some extra reps in, including sixth-round rookie Michael Woods II, who has impressed Stefanski so far.

“He was out for a good portion of the offseason program so it is good to see him out there finally. We got to see him late in the offseason program so he is somebody who I am excited to see what he has over the course of these next few weeks,” Stefanski said on July 29. “I think that all of the young guys are learning a lot. They are working very hard.”

Tackle Jack Conklin Comes Off PUP List After Knee Injury

The Browns did get a familiar face back on the field in starting offensive tackle Jack Conklin, who has been working his way back from a torn patella tendon he suffered in Week 12.

“I thought it was awesome to see No. 78 walking out here in his pads. I have told you guys, he has worked so hard. I am really proud of how hard he has worked,” Stefanski said. “He has worked really hard. It is still a process. He is not all of the way back. We have time to work him back up to speed but really excited to see No. 78 out there.”

Conklin is entering the final year of the three-year $42 million contract he signed in 2020. He’s started 22 games over the last two seasons and was named an All-Pro in 2020. Conklin earned a stellar 78.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season, excelling in the run game with an elite rating of 86.0.

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