Thursday is Christmas in July, for fans of the NFL draft anyway, as the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft unfolds. Hype around the players eligible for the supplemental draft waxes and wanes from year to year. Excitement abounds for this year's bonus round, thanks in large part to Josh Gordon, a former Baylor receiver who looks the part of a typical No. 1 wideout in the NFL.
The truth about Gordon and most other prospects is something far less simple than translating a scouting report to daily life in the NFL. After all, the easily agitated nature of the NFL media world, a sleepless beast feeding on a never-ending diet of circular speculation and innuendo, tends to elevate tiny details into bigger narratives. But I digress.
So who is this Gordon cat and the other players of note up for grabs in Thursday's supplemental draft? More importantly perhaps, which teams are likely to draft them?
Josh Gordon, WR, Baylor
I should probably put an asterisk next to Baylor since he left the program after the 2010 season, facing a suspension for marijuana possession. What catches your eye about Gordon right off the bat, besides the breathless proclamations of his status as the second coming of Calvin Johnson, is his size. Standing 6'3 and weighing 225 pounds, his body type matches up perfectly with what teams perceive as typical of a top receiver.
One of his biggest assets as a receiver is how he uses his body size to his advantage. Baylor coaches reportedly saw Gordon as their program's top receiver, above Kendall Wright who was drafted in the first round this year by the Tennessee Titans. The bottom line on Gordon is potential. He has the raw skills to develop into a starting wide out in the NFL. What he lacks is polish, the downside of not having played organized football since 2010. You can read his complete scouting report at Mocking the Draft and judge for yourself.
The Hype: Right now, the rumor mill says that Gordon is likely to fetch a second-round pick. Draft gossip is notoriously off the mark, and my first inclination is to subtract a round or two from that projection. Last year Oakland used a third-round pick on Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor who has mostly been a source of canned Horatio Alger stories since. The hype machine fell in love with BYU running back Harvey Unga in 2010, and Chicago used a 7th round pick to nab him. He is still trying to get on the field.
Possible Destinations: Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, Seattle and Washington
Prediction: Seattle Seahawks, 5th round
Ed Wesley, RB, TCU
Wesley was the first player to declare for the July draft, the first target of parched draftniks crazy from the summer heat. The 2009 Freshman of the Year in the Mountain West, Wesley accumulated more than 2,400 rushing yards during his time at TCU. Last season, he ran for more than 700 yards as part of a trio of runners the Horned Frogs used out of their backfield.
Measuring 5'8, 196 pounds, Wesley ran a 4.68 second 40 at his pro day this month. Speed has never been his thing, and he showed more than enough athleticism at his pro day to get a tryout with a team this year as a physical runner that moves well from side to side. Almost any team could take a flyer on the guy, getting a look to see if he is any better than interchangeable candidates on the bottom of the depth chart.
Possible Destinations: Cincinnati, Detroit, Green Bay, Jacksonville and New England
Prediction: Green Bay Packers, undrafted
Larry Lumpkin, LB, Carson-Newman
Do players get points for their names? Factor in five stars for alliteration and Larry Lumpkin would have a 1st round grade. An athletic linebacker, Lumpkin left Alabama A&M after struggling with his practice habits. It happens. Teams will have to be convinced he can overcome those maturity issues before handing him a roster spot.
Related: Larry Lumpkin Pro Day Results
By all accounts, Lumpkin impressed at his pro day on Wednesday. A source in this post from Mocking the Draft compared him to Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays. More than a dozen teams were on hand to see his workout.
Possible Destinations: Denver, New Orleans, Oakland, Seattle, and St. Louis
Prediction: St. Louis Rams, undrafted
There are five more players eligible for the supplemental draft. Some may get a look from teams as free agent, but all can be considered a longshot at this point. Those players are: