In a somewhat surprising but not completely unexpected move, the enigmatic Josh Gordon was selected by the Browns in the second round of the NFL supplemental draft. With their selection, Cleveland now loses their 2013 second round pick.
At 6’3″ and 224 pounds, Gordon has the measurable size to be an intriguing rookie. Expected to run the forty in the low 4.4s, some even projecting high 4.3s, Gordon’s 4.52 effort at Tuesday’s Pro Day left some disappointed as to his upside. Most, however, believe he plays faster than his timed speed and given his size, could be a WR1 given time.
The Browns are in dire need for weapons at receiver and given the names on the roster, Gordon could be given every opportunity to see the field sooner than would be normally expected. The consistently underwhelming Mohamed Massoquoi and the drop-prone Greg Little as the Browns’ current starting receivers don’t elicit much long term excitement or promise in the eyes of some, though Little still obviously still has tremendous upside in the eyes of others.
As for other receivers on the Browns, not much changes. Gordon will come in at the bottom of the depth chart and may even ultimately remain on the practice squad his first year. But with a second round pick now being spent, Gordon is certain to stick.
Lest we further add to the hype train that is already out of control, let’s make a few things perfectly clear. At 20 years of age, Gordon is extremely young. Gordon has failed at least one drug test (marijuana). And, perhaps most importantly, he’s only had a single full college season of production and hasn’t played since 2010. Bigger, faster and more experienced receivers coming from college have entered and exited the NFL without ever seeing the field. Gordon is no guarantee to ever develop.
To his credit, however, he’s addressed his transgressions openly and honestly and has vowed to leave the old Josh Gordon in the past. While the old Gordon may exist behind him, the new Gordon has to find a way to become a NFL receiver without the foundation typically needed to be successful. Odds are against him.
As to Gordon’s value in rookie drafts, expect him to be selected in the third round near other such names as Marvin Jones, Greg Childs and perhaps even A.J. Jenkins. If your draft is over, you have some choices to make – the first thing you need to do is check your league’s waiver wire rules as we’ve suggested all week.
If he’s available on a first come, first served basis, pick him up now basically free of charge. That’s an easy one.
If your league runs waivers where you have bidding dollars, this is more complicated. Much of the hype surrounding Gordon is inevitably due to the slow news in the NFL right now, but he’s still been taken very high and gone to a team where he’ll be expected to compete for playing time. It’s not inconceivable to think the Browns have to be thinking Gordon and Greg Little could be their starting receivers of the future. While we wouldn’t be blowing all our preseason dollars on him, we’d certainly be looking at using half of them if our team is really needy at the position.
If your league holds a supplemental draft where you could use one of your 2013 rookie picks to bid on Gordon, we’d certainly consider throwing out a bid of a future third round selection. If you’re a sure-fire competing team with a relatively low chance of finishing near the bottom of the league, we’d even consider bidding a second round choice for him, but I’d have to be nearly certain that pick won’t land in the low teens or the risk may be too much.
Gordon has a lot of risk associated with him and the hype on him is a little too much right now. However, he does have the size and speed combination to become a true outside threat. He also now finds himself on a team where he could find playing time almost immediately.
Josh Gordon may have used up his fifteen minutes of fame during what has been a minor media circus these past two weeks. His true value should be much less than will be seen in rookie drafts to follow. But after watching a bit of Gordon, there is something to the player that we find intriguing, he does appear to have that “it” factor.
Regardless of how you slice it, Josh Gordon is a long shot to produce in the NFL. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t an intriguing addition to your team. And besides, don’t most coaches like a long shot.
How lucky do you feel?
** UPDATE: It appears that the Browns are so smitten with Gordon that they believe he’s their “future WR1 in time” and will play a “significant role as a rookie”. Additionally, other teams had interest in Gordon so there is little way he’d now slip through to the practice squad. With the most recent news out of Cleveland regarding management’s view of Gordon, he’ll be screaming up draft boards. Good luck out there!