WR Gordon fields mid-round interest

Posted July 11, 2012 @ 3:34 p.m.
Posted By Nolan Nawrocki

Former Baylor WR Josh Gordon strongly figures to be the only player selected of eight that have been granted eligibility in Thursday’s supplemental draft. PFW surveyed a handful of NFL executives to gauge what round he will be plucked. Several said they would not touch Gordon at all because of considerable character concerns.

“He would be off our draft board if it were a normal draft in the spring,” one executive said, citing the documented suspension at Baylor related to multiple positive drug tests and off-field concerns dating back to high school. One GM noted that he did not consider Gordon to be an inherently "bad" kid but was troubled by the way his "history has (had) a way of repeating."

Two other GMs said they would not consider Gordon until the fourth round. Despite possessing elite athletic ability, big, very natural hands and prototype size (6-3 1/8, 224), Gordon is still raw as a route runner, having run a very limited route tree at Baylor. He needs considerable work on his release and has yet to adopt a professional work ethic. However, he showed he could be a big-play, vertical receiver in 2010, playing faster on the field than his low 4.5-timed speeds and remains an intriguing wild card if he passes the top three rounds.

“If you have a strong veteran receiver who can take him under his wing, you could think about it in the third,” one evaluator said. “He already missed all of OTAs and minicamps and is going to need time to figure it out conceptually.”

He has not played football for two years, having struggled to transition after transferring to Utah in 2011 and not qualifying academically at Houston in 2012.

The team best positioned to roll the dice is the 49ers, who own additional picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds in 2013, and have taken chances on players with issues. However, after the signing of Randy Moss and the selection of A.J. Jenkins in the first round, the chances of earning a roster spot in San Francisco could be limited. The Vikings also have a luxury fourth-round pick in 2013 acquired from Detroit and could use more weapons for second-year QB Christian Ponder. The general consensus around the league, however, is that the Cowboys, Browns or Redskins are most likely to take a chance on Gordon early.

The way we hear it, the Cowboys do not intend to offer Dez Bryant a second contract and interviewed the Texas-grown Gordon closely. The Browns, who had targeted Gordon’s former teammate Kendall Wright with the 22nd pick in last April’s draft, worked him out and could stand to improve the supporting cast around rookie QB Brandon Weeden. The Redskins, who invested heavily in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency, could benefit from a rapport already established with Robert Griffin III. Gordon has issues not unlike Brandon Marshall when then-Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan selected him in the fourth round in 2006 and are entering a critical season in the Shanahan era.

The Colts, Saints, Eagles, Panthers and Bears also spent considerable time interviewing him and the Bengals and Ravens, with risk-tolerable executives, could be in the running. The Dolphins and Chargers also run offenses that suit Gordon's talents well.

“You don’t win building your team with issue guys,” said one GM. “I think he is a lot more talented than Stephen Hill, but I would never take him in the second. How many supplemental guys ever amount to anything. By the time he figures it out — if he does — it’ll be the second team that benefits. Someone will probably be foolish and pop him in the third (round).”

TCU RB Ed Wesley has warranted some late-round grades from NFL evaluators and has enough vision and short-area quickness to compete for a job, but after clocking in the low 4.7’s at a mere 196 pounds, expects to go undrafted.

The intriguing physical talent of Carson Newman LB Larry Lumpkin is overshadowed by a glaring lack of discipline that does not project well to the pro game. Boise State CB Quaylon Ewing, who sources say was slated to get beat out for his job, was clocked with pedestrian times in the low 4.6s. Iowa State OT Adrian Haughton is a career underachiever who could struggle to handle NFL complexities. McMurray WR Houston Tuminello is a possession receiver who clocked times that translate to the 4.7's on a normal surface. Concussion issues could severely limit the chances of Syracuse RB Adam Harris. Multiple off-field arrests are expected to leave Georgia DE Montez Robinson without an opportunity.