Going Inside Minicamp-Philadelphia Eagles (Offense)

Recently, I took an overview of what I saw from the defensive side of the Philadelphia Eagles during their OTAs and mandatory minicamp.

In this piece, I’ll take an inside look at the offense.

Quarterbacks

Developing Situations…

I spent most of my time watching the quarterbacks during the OTAs and mandatory minicamp, which shouldn’t surprise anyone if you know my work. But in reality, I really did this because of the importance of the position—especially to this team. The Eagles’ roster is probably the strongest it has been in many seasons, but I think the quarterback position is one that needs to be closely examined because of the inconsistent results over the past few seasons.

– The one thing that really stood out with veteran Michael Vick is how he got the ball out faster from his left hand and to his intended receiving target in a timely manner. I want to see how well he does with this when everything is faster during training camp, but this has been a problem for him in the past—being decisive with reads. There’s no question that last year’s lockout hand a profound impact on Vick last season. Not being able to work with the coaches in the offseason really set him back. And I also noticed he was throwing his targets open—something that he has rarely done in the past. Again, let’s see if he can continue this in late July and through the entire month of August.

– I’ve been hard on third-year QB Mike Kafka over his first two seasons. If you’ve heard me speak about him or read what I’ve written, you probably know this already. And my criticism mainly stems from a lack of consistent arm strength. It never was about athleticism or work ethic. Kafka’s problems have stemmed from inconsistencies with footwork, mechanics and power. And believe it or not, all three issues are tied together. The quarterback position is rhythmic—meaning everything is tied together. If you have watched him closely during his first two seasons, he had a real problem getting his body into throws. Over the time I watched him throw during this offseason, it’s clear that his arm strength has noticeably improved. I noticed on several occasions that the right-handed passer had no problem throwing the ball 50 yards down field with plenty of room to spare—this was never the case at any point over the previous two seasons. It’s also clear that getting a chance to work out at the practice facility, unlike last year in the offseason due to the lockout, has clearly benefitted Kafka. And you can see how the coaches have adjusted his footwork and his release is tighter. Previously, Kafka threw with a widened stance and was all arm with little power. Arm throwers are easy to spot—they don’t get enough power from their lower body. That clearly is changing. Let’s put it this way: I didn’t think he had a prayer to succeed when watching him over his first two seasons. Now, he’s on his way to solidifying the No. 2 job—something that was not even remotely possible if you watched him last year. However, let’s see how he does when the speed of the game ramps up during training camp and the preseason. That’s the true barometer to measure where he’s at in his progression as a signal caller.

– Third-round pick Nick Foles is just as I remembered him from Senior Bowl back in late January. When he lines up his feet and squares his hips up correctly, he can really fire the ball. Arm strength is not an issue for him. Performing with consistent mechanics is what it’s all about with him. I made some really outstanding throws during OTAs and the mandatory minicamp, but only when he was squared up correctly. When he gets lazy with his mechanics, the passes went awry. And some of them came up short, which is a reflection of not always stepping into his throws.

– Veteran Trent Edwards had a rough go of it, but there are reasons for this. Edwards, as he discussed, had his mechanics adjusted to the style that the other quarterbacks use with the Eagles. And that had an impact on his timing and rhythm, which seemed to be off. Because he clearly wasn’t comfortable, Edwards had trouble even hitting open receivers at times. But he still clearly has enough arm strength. That was apparent on some deep comebacks where he fired the ball to his intended target right on time. Edwards will work with former NFL assistant coach Ted Tollner until training camp starts later this month.

Running Backs/Fullbacks

LeSean McCoy enters fourth season as one of the top backs in the NFL. It’s been interesting to watch his ascension to the top of the position. And you can sense his leadership role his growing. It’s remarkable that he turns just 24 next week. He hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, but the Eagles need to develop the backup position. It wasn’t too long ago that Eagles’ fans were clamoring for the team to draft Knowshon Moreno in 2009—and look how that’s turned out.

– Second-year RB Dion Lewis, to me, has yet to show that he’s capable of handling the No. 2 role full time. He’s an interesting back, no question. He has shown the ability to run inside and get to the second level. But he’s a bit small (5-6 ½, 195) and I don’t think we’ve seen enough from him yet to warrant being handed the job. He only saw 42 snaps last season. My sense is if McCoy couldn’t play in a given week, we could see a two-man backfield with Lewis and another back.

– Rookie RBs Bryce Brown and Chris Polk will their chance to show the coaches that they belong on the roster in training camp and the preseason. However, I don’t see the team keeping more than three backs. Brown has a nice combination of size and speed (you can see this up close), but he’ll need to show he can block and handle the play book. Polk, I thought, was very smooth coming out of the backfield as a receiver—more so than Brown. And, as I saw during Senior Bowl week, he’s a tough inside runner. His medical red flags kept him from being drafted, so even if he wins the No. 3 job, the coaching staff will have to feel comfortable that he’ll be able to last physically.

– Had a chance to watch UDFA FB Emil Igwenagu a bit. He has really good athleticism for the position, but whether he can block well enough won’t be determined until several days go by in training camp. And his competition, 2011 seventh-rounder Stanley Havili, spent all of his rookie season on the practice squad.

Wide Receivers

– Fourth-year pro Jeremy Maclin looked to be all the way back from the injuries which caused him to miss three games. He looked very smooth and considering he had a health scare last offseason, everything seems to be trending up for him. What I want to see in training camp is if he’s asked to run deeper routes. He’s fully capable of increasing his yards per catch from 13.7 for his career to over 15.0 this season. Maclin’s second gear, which we rarely get to see, is as about as good as I’ve seen from any young receiver. It’s just that he hasn’t been involved in many “shot plays” in his previous three seasons.

– I really didn’t keep an eye on him, but check out this interesting piece on UDFA WR Elvis Akpla. He could be a practice squad candidate if he has a strong camp.

– Not much to say when it comes to fifth-year WR DeSean Jackson. He looked as far as ever—no surprise there. And with his contractual issues finally behind him, you can expect his mind to be in the right place this season. He seemed to be off his game in just about every phase last season.

– Third-year WR Riley Cooper looks to have the #4 job locked up—even this early. He practiced with a lot of confidence and seems to really know where he’s going with route running, etc. I will be interested, however, to see rookie WR Marvin McNutt in training camp. He didn’t get much of a chance in minicamp to show what he’s capable of doing since he was in the learning phase. McNutt was impressive during Senior Bowl week, but he would have to put together a great training camp and preseason to beat out Cooper.

– The biggest surprise had to be second-year WR Ron Johnson. He definitely caught my eye in two areas—route running and hands. The Eagles might only keep as few as four receivers, so the chances of him making the roster are slim to none. But if he can do as well in pads during training camp as he did in the relaxed offseason setting, things could get interesting for him.

Tight Ends

Quick Hits…

– He might disagree, but I thought starting TE Brent Celek looks to be all the way back from both of his surgeries (hip, groin). Celek looked more fluid getting off the line. Going back to last season, Celek didn’t look as smooth getting in and out of his breaks. Again, there is no contact in minicamp, so you can only see so much, but he did look good.

Brett Brackett spent all of his rookie season on the practice squad of three teams, but when he was with the Eagles practice squad, you could clearly see he could run. And it makes sense since he was a wide receiver in college. What Brackett will need to do is bulk up and show that he block. Same goes for UDFA Chase Ford. Ford, like Brackett, can run, but he needs to get stronger. You can really see that even in a minicamp setting. With so many teams going with two-TE sets with guys who can run, you can see why one of those two players might stick around on the 53-man roster if the Eagles choose to keep three TEs.

– I’ll be interested to see if third-year TE Clay Harbor will get a chance to stretch the field vertically a bit this season. He only caught 13 passes last season, but Harbor moves well. The one thing the Eagles have been missing the position has been the ability to move the ball down field in the air.

Offensive Line

Some Thoughts….

It’s hard to get a read on how the offensive linemen performed since there wasn’t any real contact and there’s a lot of teaching going on. What you can evaluate, however, is overall depth at various positions and other small factors.

– Considering the team had four offensive line changes last season, which were completed literally right before the regular season started, it’s remarkable at how well the group held up. But without starter Jason Peters for 2012, the left side has a huge hole. I talked to one NFC personnel executive who watched Demetress Bell’s tape from last season. Bell, according to the executive, has really good feet and is very athletic. The issues for him are being consistent with mechanics and staying injury free. Fourth-year OT King Dunlap looks to be the top backup OT for another season.

– Getting second-year RG Danny Watkins more reps should go a long way toward getting him totally comfortable with playing inside. He had to learn how to play guard last year without having the benefit of an offseason due to the lockout.

– I’ve been asked about Jason Kelce when it comes to putting on weight. That’s hard to judge, but he did look noticeably stronger in the upper body. Keep in mind that he weighed just 280 during last year’s NFL Scouting Combine.

– The early guess is that veteran OL Steve Vallos is the leading candidate to be the backup center this season. I don’t see any other backup on the current roster capable of handling the job. Mike Gibson figures to have the best chance of landing the backup guard job. He has eight starts at guard.

Special Teams

After last year’s disastrous return game results (20.9 per net kickoff return-ranked 31st/7.1 per net punt return-ranked 27th), the Eagles look to have addressed the issue.

How so?

– UDFAS CB Cliff Harris and WR/KR/PR Damaris Johnson, Lewis, WR Mardy Gilyard and possibly others will get a chance to return kicks. The Eagles simply didn’t have good enough competition for kickoff returns last season, but they certainly have it now.

– Johnson is the leader in NCAA history in all-purpose yardage and in kickoff return yardage (25.5 yards per return). He’s also a solid punt returner (12.1 yards per return—anything over 10.0 yards per return is considered excellent).  And just getting to see the guy up close for a few weeks — albeit without pads on — he has remarkable quickness in and out of his breaks as a receiver.  I think his competition in training camp for a roster spot will come vs. Chad Hall.

– Harris only returned 27 kicks and finished with just a 21.3 average in college, but he was outstanding as a punt returner (16.2 yards per return).

– Gilyard is known as a physical kickoff returner (22.3 per return as a rookie/29.2 per return in college), so we’ll get a better idea of his talent in this area once the pads go on. His only realistic shot to make the 53-man roster is going to be as a kickoff returner.

– Lewis, who averaged just 21.3 per kickoff return as a rookie last season, will benefit from a full offseason of film work—something he didn’t get as a rookie due to the lockout.

And finally…

– Second-year K Alex Henery picked up where he left off last season. He continues to kick with power and height. When he struggled early last season, his kicks were low line drives. And talk about a guy who is performing with a lot of confidence. You can see that every time he steps out on the field.

Source: Raiders Cut Another Player From 2011 Draft Class

The Oakland Raiders waived 2011 third-round pick OT Joe Barksdale today, an NFL source confirmed.

Barksdale was listed as an inactive for each of the team’s three games this season. He did appear in all 16 games as a rookie.

Barksdale (6-5, 330) is the third player out of eight selections from the 2011 NFL Draft class to be waived by general manager Reggie McKenzie, who took over earlier this year.

So far, McKenzie has waived Barksdale and CBs DeMarcus VanDyke (third round) and Chimdi Chekwa (fourth round). Those players were three out of the four highest players selected by the Raiders in last year’s draft. Chekwa signed with the Raiders practice squad earlier this month.

Barksdale will be eligible to be claimed off waivers by another team on Thursday.

Source: Saints and Daniel Agree to one-year Deal

The New Orleans Saints and backup QB Chase Daniel have agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract, an NFL source confirmed. The deal includes a $300,000 signing bonus.

Daniel, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Tuesday at 4:00 pm ET, was not going to be tendered by the Saints. Restricted free agent tenders do not include any guaranteed money. Had he been tendered, no signing bonus would be included, only a non-guaranteed salary of $1.26 million for the low tender. And teams are able to withdraw a tender before it’s signed, so Daniels will earn at least $300,000 this season even if he doesn’t make the roster coming out of the preseason.

Daniel, who held the No. 2 quarterback job last season, earned $525,000 in 2011.

Bengals and Fullback Agree to Extension

The Cincinnati Bengals and starting FB Chris Pressley have agreed to a two-year extension, his agent, Blake Baratz, confirmed.

“Chris is one of the best people in the National Football League, and everything that he gets is well deserved. It’s people like Chris that remind me that everything I do is worth it,” Baratz told thesidelineview.com.

Pressley, who was signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2009, was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on Mar. 13.

After spending time on the Bengals practice squad as a rookie, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wound up signing him to their active roster during the 2009 season. Pressley started three games for the team before being waived in October of 2010. Pressley was signed to the Bengals practice squad again later that season and stayed there until the team signed him in December to the active roster to close the season.

Pressley, 25, won the starting fullback job coming out of training camp last season and started 10 out of the 15 games that he appeared in.

Source: Packers’ Grant Takes Pay Cut

The Green Bay Packers have restructured the contract of veteran RB Ryan Grant’s contract, thesidelineview.com has learned.
Grant, who was to earn $3.5 million in base salary for 2011, had his base salary cut to $2.5 million earlier this month, a source confirmed.

UPDATE: Grant’s entire base salary is guaranteed for cap, skill and injury, another source confirmed. Grant’s $1 million roster bonus was paid earlier this month and he can earn an additional $1.8 million in incentives. As was the case in the previous deal, he has $750,000 in total per game roster bonuses ($46,875/game).
Grant’s salary cap number has been trimmed from $5.65 million to roughly $3.87 million.

With Grant’s base salary fully guaranteed, he will certainly be on the roster this season and will almost certainly still start.

Sources: Steelers’ Colon suffers arm injury

The Pittsburgh Steelers not only lost badly to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, they might have lost one of their most important players for a significant period of time in the process.

Starting ORT Willie Colon, according to two sources, suffered an arm injury, which is believed to be in the triceps area.

If the injury is significant, and the early indication is that it is, the Steelers could re-sign veteran OT Flozell Adams, who started 16 games last season for team last season when replacing Colon, who missed all of 2010 with an Achilles tendon injury.

The top free agent offensive tackles available according to thesidelineview.com are Ryan Harris (injured/back), Jon Stinchcomb, Nick Kaczur, Mario Henderson, (former Steeler) Max Starks and Adams.

The Steelers, who host the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, list second-year OT Chris Scott as Colon’s backup.

Colon re-signed with the team with a contract for five years and worth $29 million back in late July.

Source: Browns and Josh Gordon Agree to Deal

The Cleveland Browns and rookie WR Josh Gordon have agreed on a four-year contract, an NFL source confirmed.

Gordon, who was selected in the second round of last week’s NFL Supplemental Draft, agreed to a deal worth just over $5.3 million with $3.8 million guaranteed.

Gordon (6’3” 1/8, 224) was the only player selected in this year’s Supplemental Draft.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to become part of such a prestigious organization as the Cleveland Browns.  I can’t wait to get started and acclimated to a new city as well as the team.  I want to be able to contribute to the offense in any way I can, and I am ready to come in and work hard to make that happen,” Gordon said after his selection by the Browns.

Gordon registered 43 receptions for 721 receiving yards with seven touchdown catches in two seasons at Baylor University. He also added seven kickoff returns for 139 yards (19.9 average) during his collegiate career.

As a sophomore in 2010, Gordon played in 13 games with five starts and ranked second on the team with a career-best 42 catches for 714 receiving yards and tied a team-high with seven touchdown catches.

Gordon only visited one team because he needed time to get in shape for his pro day.

“I enjoyed my visit there last week, and was very impressed with all of the people I met, including (general manager) Mr. (Tom) Heckert.  I have also had the chance to speak with (head) coach (Pat) Shurmur on several occasions and I am looking forward to the opportunity to play for him. Being taken this high in the supplemental draft and mentioned among the likes of (QB) Bernie Kosar is a humbling experience in itself, as well as a dream come true.”

Gordon did not play last season after being dismissed by Baylor due to a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, which was later dropped. While various reports varied on how many drug tests Gordon failed while at the school, the Browns clearly feel comfortable with Gordon’s character.

“It’s something that we really did our homework on, there’s no question about it. We brought the kid in and met with him here then I talked to a zillion guys at both Baylor and Utah. To be honest with you, I couldn’t find anybody to say one bad thing about the kid,” Heckert explained when being asked about if he’s concerned with Gordon’s past. “I really enjoyed meeting with him. It’s something that is out there that we think we have done our homework on. But to say we’re 100%, we’re not 100% on anybody in the draft, but we felt good enough that we think he is going to be a positive influence on our team.”

Gordon posted an average 40-yard dash time of 4.52, but the rest of his pro day workout was very impressive, according to multiple sources at the workout. He posted 36” in the vertical jump, which displays lower body explosion, and a very solid 10’1” on the broad jump.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the workout, however, was his array of receptions during a catching drill—and he did so after suffering a quadriceps pull earlier during his 40-yard dash run. And not only did Gordon catch every pass from former University of Mississippi QB Jevan Snead during the passing drill, he caught a 60-yard pass down field in stride.

The challenge for Gordon will be to learn the Browns’ version of the West Coast offense, which is a complete departure from the offense he played in at Baylor. He’ll get started on his maturation process going forward when the rookies report to training camp on July 24.

Source: Former Baylor WR to Enter Supplemental Draft

Former Baylor WR Josh Gordon will enter the NFL Supplemental Draft, an NFL source confirmed.

Gordon (6-4, 225), who did not play last season after transferring to Utah, is known in scouting circles for his prototype size and athletic ability. Gordon had to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. He was suspended by Baylor for the 2011 season due to violation of team rules.

In his last season at Baylor, Gordon posted 42 receptions for 714 yards (17.0 average) with 7 touchdowns. He’s also capable of returning kicks.

Gordon, who has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at Baylor as low as the 4.3’s, could go as high as the first half of the Supplemental Draft based on his upside and play making ability.

The Supplemental Draft is scheduled to take place on July 12, but the NFL has yet to confirm the date or whether there will actually be a Supplemental Draft. However, some player agents and NFL executives have been told the draft will take place on July 12, according to multiple sources.

The Eye in the Sky doesn’t Lie – Kendall Wright

When I noted via Twitter last fall that I was starting to do some research on Baylor University QB Robert Griffin III, some of my followers told me to make sure I got a good look at his top passing target, Kendall Wright. Some of them said he could wind up being the one of the first wide receivers selected off the board in April’s NFL Draft.

So, heeding their advice, I watched several games, and one thing became very evident—Wright was a playmaker. In fact, as one veteran personnel evaluator told me recently, Wright is the most explosive wide receiver available for this draft. But what surprised me is his willingness, despite his size (5-10, 196), to go over the middle. And watching his performance last season, his play reminded me of Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, as others have noticed as well.

Wright’s senior season game tape, according to several personnel sources I’ve talked to, is arguably the best of any wide receiver for this draft. But despite that, a recent story from Pro Football Weekly stated that he’s “parked in the third round on a number of draft boards.” So, this being the season of smoke screens and misinformation put out by NFL teams leading up to the draft, I decided to cut through all the smoke by getting answers straight from the soft spoken wide receiver myself.

“Sometimes I’m open and sometimes I’m not. But when you’re my size, you have to try to play big. I try not to let my size dictate anything,” Wright told Thesidelineview.com.

Wright, during his time at Baylor, played inside and outside.

“One team that I had a visit with said they saw me as a “Z” receiver (flanker/outside), but I can pretty much play both (inside and outside). In fact, most of the teams I visited had me as a “Z.”

The “Z” receiver, in the West Coast scheme, is the No. 1 receiver—the same position Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice played. However, in other schemes, the “Z” receiver plays in the slot. So which side of the field he plays and where he lines up will depend on which team winds up drafting him.

Wright is a rarity these days—he finished his career at Baylor as a four-year player. And he’s coming off a monster season (108 receptions, 1663 yards, 14 touchdowns), which could explain why he’s so highly thought of by many personnel evaluators.

However, he posted less than blazing 40-yard dash times (anywhere from 4.49 to 4.57 hand timed/4.61 electronic) during February’s NFL Scouting Combine. Wright erased doubts about his 40-speed at the Baylor pro day when he was hand timed at 4.41 and 4.46 by NFL teams in attendance. But luckily for him, wide receivers in the NFL don’t start out of a track stance and they do wear football pads when they play. No one has questioned Wright’s game speed on film, and some personnel evaluators have suggested that Wright’s ability to play that fast in pads comes from the strength and explosiveness in his lower body.

Profootballweekly also stated that Wright’s body fat percentage was at 16 (presumably at the Combine), so I asked the wide receiver about that late last week.

“One of the teams that I visited this week (the Jets) and gave me a physical, tested my body fat and said I had 8.4 percent,” Wright said.

Regardless of which number is accurate, Wright’s weight has remained about the same over the last year (scouts weighed him at 194 pounds last spring before his senior year, and he weighed 196 at the Combine and 197 at the Baylor pro day), and it hasn’t affected his playing speed.

Wright has seven visits (Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and an undisclosed team) and three private workouts – the Titans earlier this month and two teams that called him this week for last minute workouts. He had a private workout with the Rams, and he had a workout and two hour chalkboard session on Monday with an AFC team’s offensive coordinator that also requested confidentiality. Rams GM Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher attended Wright’s workout last week. QB Tom Brandstater threw to Wright, according to a source.

According to several NFL executives Thesidelineview.com spoke to in recent weeks, Wright is widely expected to go off the board somewhere within the first round. Regardless of the smoke screens that NFL teams are putting out this week, the bottom line is that teams go back to the film before they make their draft decisions. This time of year NFL evaluators frequently say “the eye in the sky doesn’t lie” when asked if a college player will make a good pro, and most NFL personnel executives that I’ve talked to say Kendall Wright’s film is as good if not better than any receiver in this draft.

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.