The Cleveland Browns drafted Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon in the second round of the 2012 supplemental draft.
Gordon was the only one of the eight players eligible for the draft that was selected. Carson Newman linebacker Larry Lumpkin and TCU running back Ed Wesley are the likeliest of the seven remaining players to sign with an NFL team as an undrafted free agent. The others are Boise State defensive back Quaylon Ewing, Syracuse fullback Adam Harris, Iowa State offensive lineman Adrian Haughton, Georgia defensive end Montez Robinson and McMurray wide receiver Houston Tuminello.
The Browns made their aggressive move despite the fact that they "won" the second pick of each round in the 2012 supplemental draft and therefore could have beaten out every team other than the Buffalo Bills, who were awarded the first pick as part of the "lottery" the NFL uses in determing the supplemental draft order each July.
The 6-3, 224 pound Gordon certainly boasts the size and athleticism to warrant such a lofty grade but teams generally are loathe to give up such high picks in the supplemental draft. The last time a player was selected as high as the second round in the supplemental draft came in 2003 when the Houston Texans selected former Georgia Tech running back Tony Hollings. No one player has been selected in the first round since former Duke quarterback Dave Brown in 1992.
Cleveland had demonstrated a great deal of interest in Gordon prior to Thursday's draft. They selected defensive tackle Phil Taylor out of Baylor in the first round in 2011, strongly pursued a trade up to take Robert Griffin III this year and publicly acknowledged that they would have taken Kendall Wright with the No. 22 overall pick this past April had he not been selected by the Tennessee Titans two picks earlier. By selecting former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden at No. 22 instead, the Browns have committed to improving their passing game and needed weapons. Gordon joins second-year pro Greg Little, veterans Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi and fellow rookie Travis Benjamin as the team's current primary pass catchers.
The Browns will lose their second round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft with this move.
It will be very interesting to see what impact Gordon, who only has one true season of college football under his belt, will have for the Browns in 2012 ... as well as the caliber of talent available when Cleveland would have selected in the second round next April.
The reaction by others throughout the league following the Browns selection was equal parts surprise and negative.
Said one high-ranking NFL executive speaking on the condition of anonymity, "I was stunned that [the Browns] took [Gordon] that high. What a roll of the dice... and in the second round? That's the No. 34 overall pick!"
Another showed his reaction to the news via a text: "Desperate move. Wow. Staff is on the hot seat trying to make something happen..."
Former league executive Tony Softli, who last served as the Vice President of player personnel for the St. Louis Rams and previously as the director of college scouting for the Carolina Panthers, had this to say about the selection on Twitter: "Cleveland Browns make a pivotal decision in 2012 Supplemental Draft that could have a negative rippling effect on front office and coaches"
The complete selection order determined by the weighted lottery system used by the NFL was as follows:
- Tampa Bay
- St. Louis
- San Diego
- Kansas City
- New York Jets
- San Francisco
- New England
- New Orleans
- Green Bay
- New York Giants