A day after former TCU running back Ed Wesley demonstrated enough athleticism to potentially earn a late round selection in Thursday's supplemental draft, he was upstaged by Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon, who, by clocking in at 4.52 seconds and catching every pass thrown to him, may have legitimized the hype building around his NFL potential.
Gordon, who officially measured in at 6-3 (1/8) and 224 pounds, performed in front of representatives of 21 teams, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio. His workout, which was originally scheduled to take place at Rice University, was moved to the practice bubble at the Houston Texans' facility due to weather concerns.
Shortly after Gordon's workout, results of his time in the 40-yard dash spread over the internet. Caplan reported Gordon's time in this event at 4.52 seconds. A league source on hand for the workout told me he had clocked Gordon at 4.55 seconds on his first attempt but that Gordon pulled his left quadriceps on his second try. Because of the injury he did not participate in the three cone or shuttle drills. He did, however, register a 36" vertical jump, as well as a 10'1 broad jump. He went on to run routes and catches passes from former Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead.
Gordon was "a little stiff" in his route-running, according to the league source, but caught the ball cleanly throughout the workout, demonstrating the ability to snatch the ball out of the air as well as track it over his shoulder.
As I noted in the blog post yesterday detailing Wesley's Pro Day, it is important to keep in mind that the athletes prepping for the supplemental draft haven't had the same amount of time to prepare for their Pro Day workouts as most players competing at the Scouting Combine or on-campus workouts prior to the April draft.
Still, when comparing Gordon's numbers to receivers tested in Indianapolis this past year, it is clear that he's a unique athlete well worthy of strong consideration as early as the second to third round.
Giving Gordon the benefit of the doubt and using the 4.52 second time in the 40-yard dash as the barometer, the former Baylor wideout would have tied with former Penn State receiver Derek Moye for the 11th fastest time recorded by a pass-catcher timed in Indianapolis, according to the results as reported by NFL.com. More impressively, consider that of those timed faster than Gordon, none were lighter than his 224 pounds.
Gordon's vertical also would have tied him for 11th among receivers tested in Indianapolis this past year. His broad jump (10'1 or 121") would have tied him for ninth and is comparable to the results posted by Michael Floyd (122") and his former teammate at Baylor Kendall Wright (121"), each of whom were selected in the first round. Justin Blackmon, who was the first receiver selected in April, did not participate in the broad jump at the Combine but registered a 10'4 broad jump during his March 9 Pro Day.
"[Gordon] is a talented athlete," the league source said. "You could see that on the tape. But this workout helped. There is no question he has the physical skills to play at this level."
While Gordon clearly has the size and athleticism scouts are looking for, teams will have to weigh in the fact that he hasn't played football since 2010 and has a checkered past.
Gordon looked like a future star at Baylor just a few years ago. While Wright led the team in both catches (78) and receiving yards (952), Gordon finished with the same number of touchdowns (tied for team lead with seven) in much more limited opportunities (42 catches for 714 yards). Gordon only caught one pass (for seven yards) in 2009.
Gordon was reportedly arrested in October of 2010 for marijuana possession and told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he failed a drug test during his time at Baylor. He elected to transfer to the University of Utah after being indefinitely suspended by head coach Art Briles but wasn't able to play this past season due to the NCAA's requirement that players sit out one year if transferring to another FBS program. Rather than play for the Utes this season he elected to make himself available to the supplemental draft with eligility remaining.
As the league source noted, there is no denying Gordon's physical upside. However, there is enough concern that Gordon may lack the dedication necessary to ever take full advantage of his natural skill set. As such, the interviews he had with teams prior and following his Pro Day workout will wind up being much more important to determining his final grade than his performance in drills Tuesday.
With enough uncertainly around the situation, Gordon could "slip" to the fourth round or later despite the talent to warrant consideration earlier.
For more on the other seven prospects available in Thursday's supplemental draft, I recommend reading Dane Brugler's summary here.