The NFL supplemental draft was held on Thursday, allowing teams the option of choosing a player who wasn't eligible for the NFL draft in exchange for a pick next year.
Since 1977, there have only been 42 total selections. Bernie Kosar, Brian Bosworth and Cris Carter are the most famous supplemental picks. After the rules changed in 1993, however, there have been few noteworthy selections. The most well-known was Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor, taken in the third round last year by the Oakland Raiders.
Josh Gordon made this year's draft relevant. The Cleveland Browns took the 21-year-old wide receiver in the second round, meaning they will lose their second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Though the selection was somewhat risky, it was a great move by the Browns.
Gordon last played as a sophomore with the Baylor Bears in 2010. He racked up 714 yards and seven touchdowns with Robert Griffin III at the helm and looked to be ready for a breakout 2011 campaign until issues off the field caused him to be suspended indefinitely. He transferred to Utah and sat out all of last season until deciding to enter this year's supplemental draft.
There is no doubt Gordon is extremely talented. The numbers he put up as a sophomore at 19 years of age are impressive, and if he hadn't gotten into legal trouble, he may have been regarded as a top-three receiver in this year's class. His body type and skill set are comparable to Michael Floyd of Notre Dame, the second wideout and 13th player selected overall in the draft.
Gordon and Floyd are almost the exact same size, and both possess great speed for a big receiver. Floyd ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at the combine, while Gordon ran a 4.52 in his workout Tuesday. His athleticism is something the Browns won't have to worry about. The biggest question heading into Thursday was his troubled past.
Which rookie will have the best season?
From what Gordon tells John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, it seems he's put his mistakes behind him:
Everything I thought I had, everything in front of me, just went down the drain. I didn't want to stop chasing my dream, so I transferred, sat out the season and worked as hard as I could to start from scratch... They (scouts) want to know what kind of character guy I am. They want to know if I can be trusted. They want to know if I’m going to be a guy that always has off-the-field issues. I want to make it clear I’m not going to be that guy. I know how much heartache it caused my family, how much strain it put on me and my family. I don’t plan to ever go back there again.
A receiver as talented as Josh Gordon who has learned from his mistakes and is willing to work hard for a second chance is a steal in the second round. The Browns lose next year's pick, but they get instant results, and their offense needs it.
After finishing 29th in yards per game and 30th in points, the Browns made the offense a priority in April's draft. They took running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round and tackle Mitchell Schwartz in the second to instantly upgrade their abysmal offensive attack. Gordon adds another key piece to the puzzle and will give the Browns a talented, young weapon going into 2012.
The Browns are now loaded with potential at the offensive skill positions and Gordon was an excellent pick for a franchise that wants to win sooner rather than later. Josh Gordon should be an instant playmaker and could have the best year of any rookie wideout in 2012.