On the same day that the team used a 2nd round pick on him in the supplemental draft, Browns’ GM Tom Heckert said that he expects Josh Gordon to contribute immediately, which makes sense considering how highly the organization values him. The Browns have one of, if not the thinnest receiving corps in the NFL with the still raw Greg Little, the mediocre Mohamed Massaquoi, and 4th round rookie Travis Benjamin expected to be their top 3 receivers before today.
However, Gordon has been out of football for almost two years and hasn’t had the benefit of minicamps and OTAs that other players have had, so he could struggle to adjust to the speed of the NFL and struggle with the playbook as a rookie. I don’t expect him to start the year any higher than 4th on the depth chart. If he ever has any impact, it’ll be in 2013 and beyond as a starter opposite Greg Little, a 2011 2nd round pick who the team also has high expectations for.
Meanwhile, ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi cites a league source that told him that Gordon could have been a top-10 pick in 2013. Grossi compares Gordon to Julio Jones and says that the Browns view him as their #1 receiver “in time.” Grossi is obviously a little biased and overly optimistic and while one league source may have been very high on Gordon, other league sources earlier today reportedly believed Gordon was only worth a 4th or 5th round pick in the supplemental draft. Besides, all you have to do is look at a 2012 NFL mock draft from this time last year to see that just because a guy in projected as a top-10 pick now, doesn’t mean he’ll go there when it’s all said and done, especially with such a boom or bust guy like Gordon.
All indications are that the Browns reached on potential out of desperation. No other team bid a 2nd rounder on him and while sources say the Cowboys were prepared to use a mid round pick on him, there’s no guarantee a team would have used a 3rd round pick on him. They may have reached by as much as 2 rounds. If Gordon makes good on his potential, that won’t matter in 3 years, but he’s incredibly boom or bust and supplemental picks don’t have a history of success, especially recently.