Josh Gordon got more ink than any receiver in the league the first two weeks of July, because he was the only player of note in the Supplemental Draft.
But according to early returns out of Cleveland, he may be getting more soon, on what veteran Browns reporter Tony Grossi refers to as the “fast track.”
They’re holding him back a bit because of the quad injury he suffered during his pro day workout, but when he’s on the field, they’re matching him up with cornerback Joe Haden, letting their best cover man give him a welcome-to-the-NFL taste of bump-and-run coverage.
“Joe came back and said, ‘Wow, this is a big sucker,’” coach Pat Shurmur. “On one of the routes, [Gordon] did a good job of getting separation. That’s what you need to see. I know he can catch the football. I know he can really run when he gets going. Now in this camp – because previous to training camp bump-and-run was not allowed – so this is where you start to see receivers getting challenged.”
With Gordon’s size and speed, he gives the Browns the potential for a big-play target they lack. And receivers coach Mike Wilson, who has been around some of the best, recognizes that.
“I’ve been down this road before,”Wilson said. “I coached Tim Brown with the Raiders. I had Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin in Arizona three years. I played with Jerry Rice. Talent is talent. He has unlimited potential. It will come out in due time. He’s not going to master it in one day.
“Right now he’s just getting over a slight (quad) and we’re being cautious with him. Once his body’s well, then we’ll really hone in on it. Big body, nice hands, very smooth athlete, catches the ball well. Watching his cut-up tape from college, he’s a playmaker. He has the ability to stretch the field vertically. He uses his hands to catch. This was really a bonus for us.”
Of course, the questions about Gordon haven’t always been on the field. Guys end up in the supplemental draft for a reason, and even after arriving, he admitted having lied about a positive drug test at Utah.
If Gordon is willing to mature off the field, he has a chance to become a playmaker on it for the Browns, which is why they’re pushing him.