In the relative dead zone that has been the NFL world in the past several weeks, the Supplemental Draft has been the only upcoming event to talk about. And in a slight deviation from the usual, there was some pretty good talent to be had. Leading the way was the controversial Josh Gordon.
A Baylor wide receiver that transferred to Utah but never played a snap there, he’d had a few minor off the field issues but elected to enter the Supplemental Draft due to financial issues.
Based on his raw talent, many felt that Gordon could have been a 2nd or 3rd round pick in the 2012 draft. With that sort of potential available, the Cleveland Browns felt they couldn’t afford to pass him up, and selected Gordon in the 2nd round.
Was it a good decision? Will Gordon fit in the Browns’ offense?
As we pointed out in his scouting report, there is a lot to like about Gordon on the field. At 6’4 220 lbs, he’s has the kind of size that makes him a fit in any NFL offense. He is an explosive athlete that has impressive speed for a player his size. He’s shown good hands and great blocking in limited action. He demonstrated he was in pretty good shape during his pro day earlier this week.
As Eric Galko reported through out the week, Gordon’s off the field issues were minor, and his past coaches all endorsed his character. Still, there’s plenty of risk involved in this pick, and a 2nd round selection is surprising. He hasn’t played football in a year, and injured his quad during his pro day. And for any rookie, it’s tough to join a NFL team in July and hope to make much of a quick impact.
All that being said, it’s not tough to understand why the Browns made this move. It’s certainly aggressive: the Browns only had one second round pick, and they picked Gordon at least a round higher than most expected him to go. However, it’s almost a lock that one of their early picks in the 2013 draft would have been at wide receiver. By drafting Gordon now, they have an extra year to groom him. Any early impact he makes in 2012 is just a bonus – 2013 is when Cleveland will be looking for returns on their investment.
And the potential return is massive. They now have a young, but NFL ready quarterback in Brandon Weeden, a tremendously talented young running back with Trent Richardson, and now two young and gifted receivers in Greg Little and Gordon. They have a dynamic playmaker in Josh Cribbs. There offensive line continues to improve. That’s an offense that has the chance to be special, provided each player can reach their potential.
By the time the 2013 season roles around, Cleveland has the pieces for an exciting offense. Little and Gordon can stretch the field, Mohammed Massaquoi can flourish in the resulting single coverages in short and intermediate routes, and Richardson should be demanding attention as well. Cribbs will be making plays from numerous positions on the field. Assuming the offensive line continues to get better and they are able to add a play making tight end, history may view the Browns’ selection of Gordon as a key move in the long term rebuilding process in Cleveland.