The Browns using a second-round pick (which they’ll lose in next year’s draft) to take wide receiver Josh Gordon in Thursday’s Supplemental Draft has been described as risky.
It’s Gordon’s off-field problems, more so than his on-field lack of polish, that worries teams.
In a detailed look at the quandary Gordon presented for NFL teams trying to evaluate him, NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that Gordon failed three marijuana tests during his time at two colleges.
Gordon admitted last week to failing a test at Baylor which led to his suspension, but there were apparently two others he didn’t mention. The first was after he and a teammate were arrested while falling asleep in a Taco Bell drive-thru line (nice camouflage, stoners never go there). The other was at Utah, where he transferred after his second failed test at Baylor.
To his credit, Gordon’s at least saying the right things.
“The Cleveland Browns stuck their neck out and risked taking me and put their faith and belief in me, and I won’t let them down,” he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Breer notes that Gordon passed a recent drug test, and those results were given to all 32 teams. He also scored a respectable 24 on his Wonderlic.
“It’s very hard to find a comparable player,” an AFC personnel executive told Breer. “The off-field issues, you try and draw on those players like that who have turned into huge successes, and having those examples tends to give executives some peace of mind. I struggled to come up with a high volume of players that have had his amount of issues and done a 180. We’ll see. The rest of it is up to the kid.”
“It’s just something where you say, ‘Hey man, put [the marijuana] down’,” said an NFC personnel director. “You never know which way they’ll go when they get here. It’s hard to know how important football is, and how important weed is to the kid. And the environment he goes into is important too. Then, it’s how they mature through the process you put them through.”
Those issues are compounded by the fact Gordon has relatively little tape to look at. He had two 100-yard games in college, though he was overshadowed by a host of talented teammates.
Some have suggested he was a physical equivalent to players such as Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, and maybe he is.
But unless he’s truly matured, the Browns have taken an incredible chance.