The Browns still have receivers Greg Little (61 catches, 709 yards, two touchdowns in 2011) and Josh Cribbs (41 catches, 518 yards, four touchdowns) on the roster and took Miami wide receiver Travis Benjamin in the fourth round of the draft. They also added Florida State's Bert Reed and Missouri State's Jermaine Saffold as rookie free agents.
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What none of those receivers have, though, is already-established chemistry with Weeden built from five years together in the OSU program. The Indianapolis Colts used a similar strategy when they drafted Stanford tight end Coby Fleener and signed receiver Griff Whalen as a rookie free agent to give Andrew Luck two familiar pass-catchers.
“That's probably the toughest part is going up there and getting used to a quarterback, and I've already got that,” Cooper said. “Hopefully that gives me a step up and we can just go out and perform and do well.”
Said Weeden: “I've always said (Cooper's) one of my favorite guys to throw to, because you know he's going to run the right route, you know he's going to be in the right spot. I've always had a lot of comfort throwing to Josh.”
Thursday morning, Weeden fired balls to Cooper during a 30-minute throwing session at Boone Pickens Stadium. Out routes. In routes. Corner routes. This has been the theme every day since both players knew they would be going to Cleveland.
In some ways, that's where the similarities between Weeden's and Cooper's situation end. Weeden is preparing to be the Browns' franchise quarterback and will begin to settle into his new home of Cleveland. Cooper is just trying to make the team.
But in other ways, they'll still be connected. They'll continue to be throwing pals before and after workouts and help each other learn the offense.
Cooper is even going to live with Weeden and his wife, Melanie, during minicamp, since he hasn't even thought about getting his own place yet.
“I still gotta make the team,” Cooper said. “Once I do, I'll figure stuff out. I really don't know. I'm just thinking about camp right now, trying to get through it and perform well and stay healthy.”
That's the life of a rookie free agent.
But Weeden saw the Browns' interest in Cooper first-hand last weekend. And he believes he could be throwing to his fellow Cowboy in the NFL.
“He's been a great player for us and he's a good buddy,” Weeden said. “If he can work out and find a way to get on board with us, I think he's got a real chance to compete.
“I was extremely excited (when he signed with Cleveland), not only as a friend but for his career. He's got a chance to play in that league.”