The NFL supplemental draft presents a very fascinating puzzle to solve. Teams submit the round pick they are willing to surrender in exchange for the rights to a player. The level of pick is an expression of both the team's scouting report on the player and their beliefs about what other teams would be willing to give up to secure the player's services.
Former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon has the kind of physical profile (6'4", 225 lbs) with reported sub-4.4 speed that usually gets a player selected in the first round. He hasn't played since 2010 after getting suspended and transferring to Utah last year, but unless the underlying reasons for the suspension are shockingly bad, someone is going to spend at least a third- or fourth-round pick on Gordon.
Which teams will be tempted by Gordon's rare package of physical gifts?
The Dolphins have to top the list because they don't have a true No. 2 (or maybe even No. 2) receiver for their quarterback of the future, Ryan Tannehill. They also have an extra 2013 third-round pick as part of the Brandon Marshall trade. The relative risk/reward proposition presented by Gordon is an easy sell for a rebuilding team with an extra mid-round pick.
General manager Ozzie Newsome knows about the opportunity to strike gold in the supplemental draft after landing one-time starting tackle Jared Gaither in the fifth round of the 2007 supplemental draft.
The Ravens have another size/speed prospect in 2012 sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter, but Gordon is a much better hands catcher. He could be groomed to replace Anquan Boldin in time.
The Browns need speed in their wide receiver corps to open things up for Greg Little in the short and intermediate passing game. Cleveland is an obvious choice because of wide receiver need, but they also have the advantage of being ahead of all but three teams in the draft order.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams join the Browns and Dolphins as a very needy team at wide receiver. Second-round pick Brian Quick has Gordon's size, but not his jets. The last wide receiver Jeff Fisher took early in the draft as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans was Kenny Britt, who is a similar prospect to Gordon, down to the character questions.
While the team seems to have some faith in Lestar Jean to provide an infusion of youth and size to the wide receiver corps, he can't stretch the field like Gordon can. The Texans are in a championship window and Gordon could be ready to contribute by midseason and add a new dimension to the pass offense in the postseason.
New York Jets
The Jets got the premier size/speed specimen of the 2012 rookie crop in Stephen Hill, but why not add another big burner to the passing game to confound defenses?
The fourth and fifth spots on their wide receiver depth chart are wide open, and the current regime might be more willing to spend future picks because another mediocre year will put them on thinner ice.
Yes, the Bengals have at least four candidates for their second wide receiver spot and spent two draft picks at the position in April, but none of them have Gordon's tools. Owner Mike Brown was willing to spend a third-round supplemental pick on Ahmad Brooks when he was dismissed at Virginia in 2006, and the team is known for their willingness to take on character risks.
Gordon would make it much tougher for safeties to shade to A.J. Green's side of the field.
We know Pete Carroll loves to give second chances. The variable we don't know is how the team views the futures of Sidney Rice and Mike Williams. If they are willing to spend a pick on Gordon, it could be an admission that they don't trust either big receiver to ever regain their past form.
The Seahawks have some intriguing talents like Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, but none that threaten defenses like Gordon can.
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