When quarterback Tim Tebow joined the Jets, the word of the day was “excited.” For receiver Josh Gordon’s NFL arrival in Cleveland, the magic word is “shocked.”
“I was more than shocked for sure,” Gordon told FOX 26 Sports in Houston after being picked in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft. “I definitely didn’t think that high, but I’m thankful for the opportunity. . . . I’m definitely in shock. It still probably hasn’t hit me yet.”
The former Baylor receiver perhaps shouldn’t be shocked. His agent, Jeff Nalley, thinks Gordon could have gone even higher, if he had played in 2011.
“Josh, in any other circumstances, is a first-round pick,” Nalley told FOX 26 Sports. “We talked to so many teams, did so much leg work with so many teams and they did their homework.
“What they found out was he’s a really good guy and he’s also a tremendous player. Every team that I talked to, they spoke to his ex-coaches. They spoke to his teammates from Baylor and not one had anything bad to say about him. It was good to see that come out during this process. I’m just excited for the kid.”
Still, Gordon was in the supplemental draft for a reason — and the reason is that he ended up leaving Baylor after being indefinitely suspended by the team in 2011 following a failed drug test.
Gordon’s former quarterback at Baylor, Robert Griffin III, offered a candid assessment of Gordon before the supplemental draft. “He’s been a kid that’s been in a bunch of unfortunate situations, and he knows that he was the reason that those [situations] happened,” Griffin told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “So I think any team that gets him, of course they’re gonna feel like they’re rolling the dice on the kid. I think that in the end, he’ll be successful if he wants to be successful. That’s all on him. And he knows that. He knows he’s used up all his chances and everybody’s watching him.”
The fact that the Browns rolled the dice by giving up a second-round pick in 2013 suggests that team president Mike Holmgren wants to get the situation in Cleveland turned around sooner rather than later. In fewer than three months, they’ve added four players on offense via the first two rounds of the draft: running back Trent Richardson, quarterback Brandon Weeden, tackle Mitchell Schwartz, and Gordon.
It won’t be easy to get Gordon up to speed for his rookie season, given that he didn’t play in 2011 and that he wasn’t involved in the offseason program. Then again, those same circumstances applied in 2011 to second-round receiver Greg Little, who didn’t play football in 2010 and (like every other rookie) wasn’t involved in the offseason program.
Still, a perennially bad team can become a consistent contender by making only a handful of great moves, and the Browns are at least giving their fans reason to hope that the corner finally is being turned.