I'm not one to jump up and declare that every player who becomes available should be immediately pursued by the Cleveland Browns, and I am aware of the almost tiresome hype that has been surrounding this Thursday's supplemental draft, but I have to admit: Cleveland would be well served to make a move for Baylor (or Utah, sort of) wide receiver Josh Gordon.
The Browns will be in attendance for Gordon's Tuesday workout in Houston, Texas and are likely not the only team with designs on the high-risk, high-reward receiver.
Gordon is projected to be picked up no later than the third round of the supplemental draft, and whichever team selects him will have to forfeit the corresponding pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Cleveland has more than a good shot of landing Gordon should they make a move, and though it's a high-risk one as I mentioned above, I think it's a move they must make.
The Browns' receiving corps is shaky, to say the least. While Greg Little should have a rebound year (and, might I add, his rookie season wasn't all that terrible, considering the circumstances), the remainder of the team's receivers don't engender a lot of confidence.
At the very least, the Browns need someone more talented than Mohamed Massaquoi in order to edge him out, and Gordon could very well be that guy.
In 2010, the last time Gordon took to the football field, he caught 42 passes for 714 yards and seven scores. A drug arrest got him kicked off of the Baylor team, and Gordon transferred to Utah in 2011, sitting out the season per NCAA rules. He chose to enter the supplemental draft for financial reasons, and now he's the most hyped player in Thursday's pseudo-event.
That time off the field is the only real red flag against Gordon, and it is also reminiscent of another of the Browns' receiver's pedigree. Little, as we all know, did not play in 2010 as a result of an NCAA suspension. The Browns drafted him in 2011, and likely the time off as well as the lack of an offseason program contributed to his drop-related issues in his rookie year.
This is enough to cement Gordon as a legitimate risk. However, I don't believe he is too risky for the Browns at this juncture.
Gordon represents a great opportunity for Cleveland. Not only does it present them with the chance to add a receiver who was likely going to be one of the 2013 draft's best, but he also fits the team's philosophy when it comes to receivers—get young players, not veterans, and develop them season after season.
Furthermore, Gordon is talented. Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller broke down Gordon in advance of this week's supplemental draft, and he noted that beyond Gordon's size and speed (6'4", 220 pounds, a 4.3-second 40-yard dash), scouts had compared him to A.J. Green and that, between him and Kendall Wright (a 2012 NFL draft target of the Browns), Gordon is the better player.
Of course, the time off is a drawback, as well as his lone year of being a college starter. Miller, however, also notes that other highly-touted prospects from this year (Rueben Randle, Stephen Hill) also lacked experience but displayed a great deal of potential.
Gordon, in his estimation, is no different, and as long as he works hard on route running the moment he takes the training-camp field, he should be ready to make a rookie-year impact.
A third-round (or second-round) pick is a lot to give up now, especially considering that few supplemental draft products amount to much. And the Browns' actions in both free agency and April's draft have shown they are pretty secure in the receiving corps they currently have.
But Gordon is likely a receiver they'd target in 2013 anyway, and they may be able to get him now at a better price than he'd cost them next year.
Despite the hype, despite the Browns' predilection to not make splashy-seeming moves and despite the related risks, I think Cleveland would be smart to go for it and add Gordon to their ranks this week.
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