As 32 NFL franchises are putting together their research to fix a draft pick value on former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon and the other seven NFL Supplemental Draft picks, two of the most respected talent evaluators in the draft community are putting Gordon in lofty company.
Gordon has the requisite size/speed combination at about 6'3", 220 pounds, with reported sub-4.4 40 times to get the attention of the NFL. While his film is limited, it does paint a picture of how Gordon can capitalize on his superior tools to make plays.
The most optimistic early reports on Gordon's stock put it around the third or fourth round, but as Gordon's tape is making the rounds and being put under the microscope, a clearer picture of the magnitude of his raw talent is emerging.
Matt Waldman, author of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio, comes right out and sets the bar as high as possible for Gordon: "Josh Gordon’s current skill and style of play reminds me of a mix between a raw Terrell Owens and Demaryius Thomas. However, his potential could be as limitless as Calvin Johnson."
Waldman actually says Gordon has more physical upside and has flashed more technical skill than Thomas did at the same point in his career. To be fair, Waldman does point out in detail that Gordon needs to improve his route-running and hand usage better to maximize his prodigious talent.
Former NFL scout and current Sporting News and Big Ten Network draft analyst Russ Lande also put Gordon in the upper echelon of talent in his scouting report, saying, "Based purely on film evaluation Gordon is a better prospect than Brian Quick and Stephen Hill who were both second round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft."
Like Waldman, Lande draws attention to Gordon's need to improve his route-running, and he also dings Gordon's quickness in his initial get off. Even though Lande thinks Gordon would have been a first- or second-round pick if he had played at Baylor this year, he still puts Gordon in the third or fourth round of the supplemental draft.
Gordon's final draft spot will be determined by character information and interviews that we're not privy to. If his character is poor enough to push him into the end or even out of the supplemental draft, it's clear from Waldman and Lande's reports that he has NFL starting-caliber talent.