Handicapping the Josh Gordon Sweepstakes

Ahh, it’s that time of the season. No, I wasn’t talking about the running with the bulls at Pamplona. That took place last week.

It’s time to handicap the interest in level in former Baylor WR Josh Gordon from all 32 NFL teams for Thursday’s Supplemental Draft.

With the likelihood that that he’ll be the only player out of the group of eight selected, there’s no reason to guess on the other seven players.

So, with that being the case, let’s take a look at where he might end up:

Teams With Probable Interest

1) Cleveland Browns – The Browns have spent perhaps as much time, if not more on Gordon, than any of the 32 teams. They have spent time with him in person, broken down his game tape, attended his pro day workout on Tuesday—you name it, they’ve done it. And as any fan of the team already knows, the Browns have a weak group of receivers. And keep in mind they admitted after this year’s NFL Draft that they were going to spend their first-round pick on his former teammate at Baylor, Kendall Wright, had he been there. But Wright was selected two spots before they picked in the first round. The Browns clearly want speed at wide receiver, which is I have them as the top team for Gordon’s services. Is it all a smoke screen? I discussed that subject and more locally this week.

UPDATE 7/12: The Browns appear to have done more work on Gordon than any other team. And they were also the first team to meet with him. What does this all mean? Again, is their interest a smoke screen? Stay tuned.

2) Miami Dolphins – If you thought the Browns group of receivers was weak, the Dolphins probably have the worst group in the NFL. They have been quiet about their interest in Gordon, but they did show up to his workout on Tuesday. With the trade of veteran WR Brandon Marshall earlier this year, the Dolphins need size and speed on the outside—both traits that Gordon possesses. And he plays faster than his 4.52 40-yard dash time.

3) Washington Redskins – Obviously, Gordon played with new Redskins QB Robert Griffin III at Baylor, so it would make sense, at least on a moderate level, why the team would do more work on the receiver. But while they attended his workout on Tuesday, the Redskins have decent depth at the position. However, they don’t have anyone on the outside as fast or as big as Gordon.

UPDATE 7/12: The Redskins have amped up their work on Gordon’s background over the past 24 hours.

4) Indianapolis Colts – New general manager Ryan Grigson knows he needs to help QB Andrew Luck out as much as possible when it comes to passing options. And being that the Colts badly need help on the outside at wide receiver, it wouldn’t be surprising if they considered using as early as a third-round pick on Gordon.

UPDATE 7/12: With WRs Donnie Avery and Austin Collie leading the way currently to start on the outside opposite veteran Reggie Wayne, there’s a belief that the Colts see Gordon as a potential starter down the road. It should be noted that Collie is best used on the inside. And Avery is finally 100 percent after suffering a serious knee injury in August on 2010.

5) Buffalo Bills – After veteran WR Stevie Johnson, the Bills don’t have much depth on the outside at the position. So, it makes sense why they would attend Gordon’s workout. With the team essentially using spreads looks most of the time, depth is really important—something they don’t have much of at wide receiver.

6) Dallas Cowboys – After starters Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, the Cowboys don’t have any real depth at wide receiver. And they don’t have a legitimate backup for either player. While second-year WR Dwayne Harris is intriguing, he played only one snap on offense as a rookie. I’d call the Cowboys the sleeper team for Gordon’s services on Thursday.

Teams With Moderate Interest

7) New York Jets – The Jets clearly have a less-than-stellar group of wide receivers, so you can understand why they wanted to get a closer look at Gordon by attending Tuesday’s workout. And they are clearly willing to invest in players with off-the-field issues. But when looking at Gordon’s skill set, is he better than second-round pick Stephen Hill? I know former NFL scout Russ Lande believes that’s the case.

8) Houston Texans – With veteran WR Andre Johnson’s injury history and with little proven depth behind him, the Texans need to add a few players to the position going forward. But how much different is Gordon from DeVier Posey and Lestar Jean? Gordon, at least potentially, could be significantly better, but he only had one year of starting experience at Baylor.

9) Minnesota Vikings – There’s no question that the Vikings have one of the worst groups of receivers on paper, but they did spend two fourth-round picks on the position in this year’s NFL Draft. They were at Gordon’s workout, but I don’t see their interest being particularly high—just that they figure to be intrigued by him. And as various NFL executives have told me over the years about Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, he’s big on players with a favorable size and speed ratio—and Gordon has that.

10) Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks have a below average group of wide receivers. That much is obvious. And with the team having so much uncertainty at the position, you can see why they were at Gordon’s workout. And the team is clearly willing to take risks (see Bruce Irvin in this year’s draft), so it wouldn’t be surprising for them to seriously consider selecting him early.

11) Denver Broncos – After WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, the Broncos have next to nothing at the position. They certainly need to do something, but I found it curious that they weren’t represented at Gordon’s workout. Based on his off-the-field history, you would think a team that had a lot of interest in him would want to spend time in person.

12) St. Louis Rams – The new front office is clearly willing to invest draft picks in players with character issues (see Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson), so there’s no reason to think the Rams wouldn’t be interested in Gordon. But in reality, it’s experience at the position that they need, not youth.

13) Carolina Panthers – Gordon plays faster than young receivers such as Brandon LaFell and David Gettis, so I could see why they wanted to attend his workout. And after those two and veteran Steve Smith, depth becomes an issue.

14) Oakland Raiders – The Raiders have a fairly deep group of young receivers, but the team lacks experience at the position. Considering Gordon only had one year of starting experience in college, he doesn’t fit what they really need.

15) Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles have done their homework on Gordon, including spending time with him the night before his pro day workout. But the Eagles are set, at least for this season, with the first four spots on the depth chart. And going forward, Jeremy Maclin should sign a contract extension prior to the 2013 season, so I don’t see the Eagles submitting an early pick on him.

Teams With Little or No Interest

16) Baltimore Ravens – I’ve been harping on the Ravens for the past few years to give QB Joe Flacco help at wide receiver. However, the team wasn’t at Gordon’s workout. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of that, but I find it hard to believe they would select him without meeting with him in person or seeing him workout live. We’ll see if I’m correct or not come Thursday afternoon.

17) Atlanta Falcons – The first three spots on the depth chart at wide receiver are set, but after that it’s up in the air. However, Gordon plays on the outside where the Falcons are set for at least the next few seasons with Roddy White and Julio Jones. They’ll pass.

18) New York Giants – After selecting Rueben Randle in the second round this year and with the rapid development of Victor Cruz, the Giants have a nice group of young receivers. While they attended Gordon’s workout, they’ll pass on him.

19) New England Patriots – The Patriots were represented at Gordon’s workout, but they are deep enough at wide receiver. While they could use a developmental outside receiver, don’t look for them to show much interest in him.

20) Chicago Bears – While the Bears were at his workout, the first four spots on the depth chart are set, so I don’t see the Bears having much interest in Gordon.

21) Cincinnati Bengals – After spending early-round picks on A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu in the past two drafts, youth at the position isn’t an issue. What the Bengals lack is experience at wide receiver.

22) Pittsburgh Steelers – At least for this season, the Steelers will be at least four-deep at wide receiver. After this season, jobs could be open at the position. However, I don’t see them interested in bringing along another developmental wide receiver at this point.

23) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – After adding veteran WR Vincent Jackson in free agency, the Buccaneers are at least four-deep at the position.

24) Arizona Cardinals – They spent a first-round pick on WR Michael Floyd and are at least four-deep at the position. While they were at Gordon’s workout, they don’t need him.

25) Jacksonville Jaguars – What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, the Jaguars had perhaps the worst group of receivers in the NFL. Now, they actually are fairly deep.

26) Kansas City Chiefs – They were at Gordon’s workout, but the team is pretty deep at wide receiver. They’ll pass.

27) Detroit Lions – The Lions could use another wide receiver for depth purposes, but with all of the off-the-field problems their players have been dealing with in recent months, it’s unlikely they would take a risk on Gordon.

28) San Diego Chargers – The Chargers really went for it in free agency, which suggests they are trying to win now—not later. They’ll pass on Gordon.

29) San Francisco 49ers – While the 49ers were at Gordon’s workout, at least for this season, they appear to actually be deep at wide receiver. I don’t’ see them carrying a player on the 53-man roster who likely wouldn’t contribute much this season.

30) Tennessee Titans – The Titans surprisingly selected his former teammate at Baylor, Kendall Wright, and are now really deep at wide receiver. They also weren’t at the Gordon’s workout. They’ll pass.

31) New Orleans Saints – The first five spots on the depth chart seem pretty secure, so it’s unlikely the Saints would select Gordon.

32) Green Bay Packers – The Packers were at Gordon’s workout, but they are really deep at wide  receiver, so I don’t see them really being interested.