The Cleveland Browns will be sporting a new-look offense in 2012, the foundation of which rests upon high-potential rookies taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden will make up this foundation, and most eyes in training camp are on them and how they perform. Colt McCoy is still a factor technically, but Weeden is likely the guy moving forward.
Outside of those guys and hopefully second-year player Greg Little, the Browns have another young piece on offense they're sorely hoping will be a big part of the foundation: wide receiver Josh Gordon. The team spent a second-round pick on Gordon in the NFL's supplemental draft, which means they'll forfeit their second-round selection in the 2013 NFL Draft.
They've already noted that they hope Gordon can start and that he'll be a part of the foundation. So it's really good then that Gordon is looking good in the early stages of training camp. ESPN had an article on Saturday that talked a bit about Gordon, with some quotes from head coach Pat Shurmur:
Gordon drew attention from Shurmur and fans. Lerner and team president Mike Holmgren also watched intently from the sidelines.
"I saw Josh play a little faster," Shurmur said. "I know he can catch the football and he can run when he gets going. He has great size. Joe Haden came back and said, 'Wow, this is a big sucker.' "
There's plenty of more on Gordon in the piece - most notably the bits about all of what Gordon needs to do to get up to speed. Gordon probably does have the potential to be a starting receiver in the NFL, but he's got a long, uphill battle to play catchup with many of the rookies who didn't spend a significant portion of their college playing career under suspension.
Still, it's good to see that Gordon is being noticed this early on. It's not likely he'll perform to such great lengths that he sees significant playing time early on in the regular season, but he could earn his way into some specific situations if he shows a good understanding of the playbook and really struts his stuff in training camp and preseason. After all, he's got Joe Haden to work with and sharpen his skills on. In this case, "sharpen his skills" means "get beat a lot by one of the best corners in the NFL," ... and there's no shame in that.