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Can Josh Gordon be a Game Changer for the Young Browns Offense?

The Browns selected Josh Gordon in the second round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft on Thursday afternoon, a huge vote of confidence in a guy who has not played football in almost two years.

Gordon started out his college career at Baylor where he looked like he was emerging as a young star in that offense prior to leaving after the 2010 season and transferring to Utah.

Though on paper, Gordon’s departure from Baylor was a curious one, the end result didn’t wind up hurting his draft stock all that much. In fact, the mystery of what he could have been probably propelled him to an even higher draft status than he otherwise would have been.

Gordon has fantastic overall measurables, big hands, and really good athletic ability. All he really lacks is experience, and the thought of what he cold become tantalized the Browns enough that they used a second round pick in next year’s draft to get him.

That’s surprising to me for a variety of reasons, the main one being that the Browns’ pick in next year’s draft could be pretty high. They have an up-and-coming defense and a couple of young offensive stars with which to build around, and with Brandon Weeden’s age, the time to win is clearly now or in the not-so-distant future. However, the choice to drop a second rounder from next year’s slew of picks is a curious one.

Still, it’s well understood what the Browns are trying to do. In 2011, they selected Greg Little with a second round pick, and in 2012, they brought in Miami’s Travis Benjamin in the third round. Add Josh Gordon to the mix, and the Browns obviously feel like they have a great young trio of receivers. With those three guys, it will be extremely intriguing to see what they do in the pre-season and in training camp.

What the Browns are getting in Gordon may be unknown, but at least on paper, they believe he can start and he really enjoyed meeting the team.

“I enjoyed my visit there last week, and was very impressed with all of the people I met, including Mr. Heckert,” Gordon said. “I have also had the chance to speak with Coach Shurmur on several occasions and I am looking forward to the opportunity to play for him.”

Gordon hasn’t played in an actual football game since the 2010 season when Baylor concluded a pretty average season with a bowl game against Illinois, and he missed out on being on the receiving end of a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback last season. That being said, Gordon hasn’t been inactive. He practiced all of last season with the Utah Utes football team, and he was planning on using his redshirt last season and playing with the Utes in 2012. I am not sure Gordon could have done much better than being a second round pick in the 2013 draft had he actually played, but the Browns expect him to be an immediate contributor despite the time off.

“Anytime you pick somebody that early, you’re hoping he’s a good football player, and that’s what we think Josh is,” Heckert said. “… Most years, there’s not a player of Josh’s caliber in the supplemental draft, so you don’t hear about it very much. But we look at it as a positive. We’re getting a really good football player and we’re getting him a year early.”

Gordon is going to need to learn fast, and he’s got a bunch of young new teammates to do it with. Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, Greg Little, Joe Thomas, and now Gordon provide the foundation for the future of this team, and the Browns need him to be a game changer.

Athletically, Gordon appears to be up to the task, and from what I have heard and read about his pre-draft interviews, he is a sharp kid. This is an exciting move for Browns fans, though they might be disappointed to not have the pick next offseason. Hopefully Gordon produces well enough to keep the fan base at ease.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.