CLEVELAND – After testing positive for alcohol, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon was suspended a minimum of one year by the NFL Tuesday.
After being suspended ten games for marijuana in 2014, Gordon being suspended for the second time in less than 16 months, puts a dent in Cleveland’s plans to build a prolific offense and contend in the AFC North.
Gordon’s ban follows on the heels of quarterback Johnny Manziel checking himself into rehab Monday, changes the Browns’ plans for the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago.
After choosing to pass on a wide receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft, a class that included Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin that was highlighted by Offensive Rookie Of The Year in Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants, the Browns cannot afford to gamble again on passing on a wide out in another talented class of 2015.
Based on general manager Ray Farmer’s comments following news of the suspension, Gordon may have not only played his last game in Cleveland, but perhaps the NFL as a whole,
“As we have conveyed, we are disappointed to once again be at this point with Josh. Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization. Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him.
It is evident that Josh needs to make some substantial strides to live up to the positive culture we are trying to build this football team upon. Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the Nation Football League.
We will have no further comment on Josh as he will not be permitted in our facility for the duration of his suspension.”
While there is no clear cut No.1 receiver in this class, names such as Amari Cooper of Alabama, Kevin White of West Virginia, Jaelen Strong from Arizona State and DeVante Parker from Louisville are sure to become quite popular amongst Dawg Pound Nation, thanks to Gordon’s latest relapse.
For months, I’ve been on the White bandwagon after watching a couple of West Virginia games, as at 6’3 and 210 pounds he has the type of frame, hands, leaping ability and game-changing ability that Gordon does, and while it wouldn’t shock me that Cleveland grabs him at No.12, with word of his stock rising on draft boards, and Cleveland desperate to replace and wash their hands clean of Gordon, Parker may be a more feasible option.
Parker, the 6’3 211-pound wide out from of Louisville is also beginning to trend upwards, and despite missing seven games with a foot injury, averaged over 142 yards a game for a total of 855 yards and five touchdowns.
Parker’s rise on early draft boards would make him available for the Browns to grab at No.12, should he be there. Thanks to his combination of speed, open-field shiftiness and ability to go after jump balls in the red zone, Cleveland needs to make a bold move in snagging Parker.
In addition to his physical abilities, Parker also has the rare ability for a tall and lanky receiver to beat press coverage and yards after catch ability.
While he make not be a big name like Cooper or have prolific numbers like White, Park is a name on the rise, and if the Browns are smart, would be wise to get well-acquainted with immediately.