The Browns selected UCLA wide receiver Jordan Payton in the fifth round (No. 154 overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Here are notes on the 6-foot-1 1/8, 207-pound Payton from NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler's draft guide:
BACKGROUND: A four-star wide receiver recruit out of high school, Payton had a tough time making his college choice, initially committing to USC then California and then Washington before ultimately choosing UCLA on signing day. He started four games as a true freshman in 2012 and recorded 18 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown. Payton became a full-time starter as a sophomore and finished with 38 receptions for 440 yards and one score. He started all 13 games as a junior in 2014, posting 67 catches for 954 yards and a career-high seven scores to earn All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention honors. Payton had his most productive season as a senior (13 starts) with a team-best 78 receptions for 1,105 yards and five touchdowns, earning All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention honors. He accepted his invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl.
STRENGTHS: Good-sized target with well-distributed thickness…long, strong strides to chew up grass and gain proper depth in his routes…sells patterns with sharp footwork, working back to the ball…makes smooth adjustments on throws away from his body, keeping his focus through the catch…prefers to use his hands at the catch point and avoids using his body to finish…competes with veteran savvy and understands situations…shows his numbers to the quarterback and is a reliable target…nice job working the sidelines…physical blocker with the framework to be better in this area…toughs out injuries and rarely leaves the field…highly productive and set the UCLA record for career catches (201), posting personal-bests as a senior with 78 catches and 1,105 receiving yards.
WEAKNESSES: Not a burner vertically and doesn’t play as fast as he times…doesn’t create consistent separation out of his routes, lacking sudden feet to sink and explode in/out of his breaks…labors off the line of scrimmage and at the stem…marginal leaper and struggles to highpoint…occasionally forced to break stride in order to finish catches…not elusive to be a consistent YAC threat…overaggressive downfield and will attract offensive penalties…streaky effort as a blocker, late finding defenders or simply missing assignments…found the end zone only five times on 78 catches as a senior…might have already hit his ceiling as a football player.
SUMMARY: A three-year starter, Payton steadily improved his production each season, leading the Bruins in receiving the last two seasons – 40 career starts on his résumé, including 33 straight. He is a reliable possession receiver with strong ballskills and a good-sized catch radius, not allowing traffic to disrupt his focus. While dependable and a smooth athlete, Payton isn’t dynamic, lacking explosive traits or body twitch to consistently create his own separation or be a threat as a ballcarrier, which will limit his ceiling at the next level – day three option due to his size and hands to be a trustworthy possession target.