Gordon Could Become Browns' 4th Rookie Starter on Offense This Summer

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 23, 2012

Photo Courtesy of M Khursheed
Photo Courtesy of M Khursheed

The Cleveland Browns thought more of former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon than any other team in the league. This is self-evident by the fact that they were willing to pony up what should be an early second-round pick, when no other team in the league was willing to spend a second-round pick on Gordon.

Monday's report from ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi reveals that the Browns might like Gordon enough to put him in the starting lineup from day one. Grossi projects Gordon to start at wide receiver opposite Greg Little, even though Gordon hasn't played football since 2010. 

It's not that outlandish to project this, because the Browns started Little in 12 out of 16 games last year and basically gave him a starter's workload from the get-go, and Little missed the entire 2010 season after violating the NCAA rules about agent benefits.

But how much of this possible decision would be based on Gordon's readiness, and how much would be based on Mohamed Massaquoi and Carlton Mitchell's inability to develop early in their careers?

Grossi himself writes to not be surprised if Gordon "needs time to claim a starting spot." Massaquoi, Mitchell or fourth-round pick Travis Benjamin could have an outstanding camp and preseason and seize the spot. Gordon could look like what he is, a player who hasn't had live game action in over a year-and-a-half. 

Grossi's willingness to put Gordon as the favorite to start shows the weakness of the competition and the strength of the Browns' belief in the rookie. If he doesn't start vs. the Eagles in Week 1 of the regular season, perhaps it's a sign that they are being more realistic about him than they were when they bid on him in the supplemental draft.