NFL Supplemental Draft 2012: Josh Gordon Worth Risk for Browns' Anemic Offense
The Cleveland Browns made Josh Gordon the sole selection in the NFL's supplemental draft on Thursday. Taking Gordon in the second round may seem like a stretch, and for most teams, it would be, but the Browns offense is starved for pass-catching playmakers.
Gordon has the measurables and physical tools of an NFL receiver, but he brings some extra baggage. A report on SI.com had this to say about Gordon's troubled past:
Gordon has not played a competitive down of football since the Texas Bowl on Dec. 29, 2010, and he comes with the dreaded “character issues” label attached to him. Back in October 2010, Gordon and a then-Baylor teammate were arrested after falling asleep in a Taco Bell drive-thru. Police found marijuana in the car the two were in, though Gordon was not driving. Less than a year later, Gordon was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules; he later revealed that he had failed a drug test.
There's no doubt those are real and definite concerns, but have you seen the Browns' starting receivers for next season? How can they expect Brandon Weeden to develop when he's throwing to Greg Little, Mohamed Massaquoi, Travis Benjamin and Josh Cribbs? It just isn't going to happen.
Gordon may not help immediately, but he has more upside than any of the other four targets. According to NBCSports.com, Gordon ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at his pro day in early July. He measured at just over 6'3" and carries a solid 224-pound frame to go with it.
He passes the eye test despite his obvious concerns otherwise.
Browns fans may argue that he isn't worth giving up a second-round pick to attain, but think about the receivers taken in the second round of the "real" NFL draft. Guys like Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery had their talents questioned. Ryan Broyles is coming off a major knee injury. Rueben Randle rarely had balls thrown his way as an LSU Tiger, and Brian Quick is a virtual unknown coming out of Appalachian State.
Would you consider Gordon a greater risk than any of those five guys? I wouldn't, and the Browns were right to think otherwise as well.
According to SI.com's report, Gordon passed a recent drug screening and scored very high on the Wonderlic test. Both of those things may point to Gordon "turning over a new leaf." If he does, he could be a steal.
Without the legal trouble, or if Gordon had decided to play a down for Utah after transferring there, he would have been an interesting prospect in the 2013 NFL draft.
It's certainly a risk to give up a second-round selection for next season, but Gordon is no more a risk than any other rookie. He will have the same chances to prove himself, and he measures up to any player who was selected in April.
The Browns were No. 24 in the NFL in terms of passing yards last season. Little led the team with 709 receiving yards. The team needs some help in that department, and it didn't address that need by taking Benjamin in April's draft.
Gordon provides quality insurance to their receiving corps and has more upside than the other Cleveland targets. He was a risky choice because of his checkered past, but the Browns made the right choice.
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