By Tony Grossi
Showing unusual aggressiveness, the Browns forfeited their second-round pick in 2013 to select former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in today’s NFL supplemental draft.
Gordon, 6-3 1/8 and 224 pounds, was suspended indefinitely by Baylor in 2010 for failing a test for marijuana. He transferred to Utah and sat out the 2011 season in anticipation of completing his college eligibility in 2012. But financial pressures at home reportedly made him change his mind and he opted for the supplemental draft two days before the deadline.
The Browns spent a whole day with Gordon last week at their headquarters, a league source told ESPNCleveland.com. They had him take a physical and spent “a long time” discussing his issues. GM Tom Heckert came away convinced the issues were behind Gordon.
Before bidding on Gordon, the Browns had to sweat out the draft order, which was determined by a weighted lottery just 15 minutes before the draft at 1 p.m. They had to compete with the nine other teams that won six or fewer games last year.
The Browns luckily won the No. 2 pick in the order. Buffalo was No. 1. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, no other team submitted a bid in the second round. Several league sources predicted before the draft that Gordon would be selected in the third round.
The Redskins, who have become the Browns’ nemesis in outbidding them previously for Robert Griffin III, Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan, drew the No. 7 position. Griffin reportedly lobbied his new team to take Gordon. They shared one season together at Baylor in 2010, when Gordon had 42 catches for 714 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Browns “discovered” Gordon on game tape while scouting Griffin III and receiver Kendall Wright during and after the 2011 college season. Gordon is bigger and faster than Wright, whom the Browns considered taking at No. 22 this year. Tennessee swooped in and took Wright at No. 20. The Browns then drafted quarterback Brandon Weeden two picks later.
They also might have noticed Gordon on tape the year before when they scouted defensive tackle Phil Taylor, their first-round pick in the 2011 draft.
The Browns had two scouts at Gordon’s pro day workout on Tuesday. Gordon timed the 40-yard dash in 4.52 before pulling a quadriceps muscle. The Browns, and most other teams, considered the time impressive considering Gordon’s physical dimensions. Nobody as heavy as him ran a better 40 at the NFL combine.
Because he hasn’t played since 2010, and because he has missed the entire offseason of camps, Gordon will need time to work his way in. But a Browns source said they fully expect him to help them as a rookie.
Eventually, Gordon has the physical tools, and the hands, to be their new No. 1 receiver.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 44 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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