Earlier today, Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert had a conference call with the local media after the team selected wide receiver Josh Gordon after the supplemental draft. Most of the conference call focused on the team's evaluation of Gordon, a few questions about Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson were thrown in too. I have organized the conference call by transcript after the jump.
Editor's Note: In light of the Browns drafting Gordon, I am pushing the final part of our offensive line preview back one more day and will swap the tight ends preview with the wide receiver preview for training camp. I want a few days to reflect on the team's wide receiver situation for camp before composing the preview.
Reaction to Getting Gordon, and if They Feared Others Would Grab Him
(On their reaction to getting Josh Gordon)- "We are obviously really excited. He is a guy that we saw back when he was playing in 2010. He is a guy that we targeted and we really felt good about. We are happy we had the chance to get him."
(On if it was risky to take Gordon in the second round)- "I don’t know if it’s risky. That’s where we thought he was as a player. He is a guy that can come in here and be an eventual starter for us and make plays for us. I think anytime you draft a guy there is always some risk involved, but we think we got a good football player and we were able to get him in the second round."
(On if he thought Buffalo would take Gordon in the third round)- "I don’t really know who was involved in the whole thing. We didn’t worry about it. We were going to take him in the second round and whatever happened, happened, no matter where we were picking. That’s where we thought he was going to go. We weren’t real concerned about who else was interested."
(On if it was an anxious night for him after hearing about Washington’s interest in Gordon)- "This is kind of worse than the regular draft. The regular draft we kind of have an idea where somebody may go. In the supplemental draft you have no idea because you don’t have a whole lot of time to prepare for it. You just don’t know because there are obviously reasons why these guys are in the supplemental draft. You can’t worry about it too much. I will say I was happy with where we were picking in the lottery. I didn’t want to get put at the very end of our slot. I am not quite sure why we have the lottery instead of the regular draft positions, but whatever, it worked out for us I think."
(On if they decided they were going to take Gordon in the second round before the draft order was set)- "Yes. Obviously we were hoping to get an earlier pick and we did, which was nice. We were going to take him in the second no matter what."
(On giving up an early pick)- "Anytime you pick somebody that early you are hoping he is a good football player. That’s what we think Josh is. Just because it’s the supplemental draft I think it’s a little different and most years there is not a player of Josh’s caliber in the supplemental draft so you don’t hear about it very much. Like I said, we look at it as a positive. We are getting a really good football player and we are getting him a year early. I think next year we will be sitting there going, ‘Wow,’ if he plays like we think he is going to play this year, I think it will obviously be a good decision."
Gordon's Past Concerns & Comparison to Greg Little
(On if Gordon’s past concerns him)- "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. 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."
(On comparing Gordon’s situation to Greg Little’s last year with both of them having not played the previous year)- "It’s almost exactly the same. This guy has what a couple weeks on Greg (joking)? But it is very similar, it is kind of strange. Now, this kid did practice, so it’s a little different in that aspect. He practiced with Utah the entire time so he has been doing something. That’s the difference, but he hasn’t played in a real game in a while. That’s something he is going to have to get back used to, but at least he practiced with them."
Gordon's Talent and Visit With the Team
(On what stood out about Gordon when he came for his visit)- "When you guys see him, that will be your first clue. He’s a big kid. He is a little over 6-3 and he is 225. He can run and he has huge hands and long arms. He is an impressive looking kid. Like you said, there were some concerns about him, so I drilled him pretty hard when I was with him. He didn’t back down and he told me everything that I thought I needed to hear from him. He promised that he would be a guy that we are going to love having in Cleveland. To me, he seemed pretty fired up about being a Brown. When he left he said he hoped we were the team that picked him."
(On if he would describe Gordon’s attributes as elite)- "It’s hard, but anybody that is that size, yeah I would say so. He has a long way to go before he is elite as a player, but his size, athletic ability and speed are up there pretty good."
(On if Gordon has the makings to be a No. 1)- "Yeah, but I never really bought into that a whole lot. You have two starting receivers, I don’t know why one is a 1 and the other is a 2. I never got that part, but he can start in the NFL. That’s obviously what we thought and still think."
(On how much this pick had to do with what they would need next year)- "First and foremost we think the guy is a good player, but if he wasn’t available it wasn’t a big deal. We just think he is a good player. As you said, we did look at the guys who are supposedly coming out in the draft next year and kind of compared Josh to those guys, which you have to do. Where we got Josh, I think it was good value and we get him a year early."
(On if he talked to Brian Norwood or Phil Taylor about Gordon)- "Yes, both of them. Coach (Art) Briles, I talked to him for a long time. I talked to a lot of people and everybody loves this kid. They think he is a really good person and a great football player. Everybody was on board with it so it was good to hear."
(On if he talked with Mike Holmgren about Gordon)- "Yeah, I’ve talked to him. I talked to him a few times even before we left. We knew it was a pretty good possibility that this kid was coming out in the supplemental draft because of the situation so we talked about it even before vacation started. We have been onboard with this for a long time. Everybody was on the same page, Randy (Lerner) included. We all felt comfortable with him and we thought it was the right move for us."
What Gordon Can be Expected to do in 2012
(On if Gordon can contribute right away)- "I don’t know if we can answer that right now. We hope he comes in and plays right away. That’s the goal. Obviously we will see him here in a couple weeks. A lot of it will depend on how he picks things up and all that stuff, but we expect him to play."
(On Gordon’s ability in the red zone and being able to score for them)- "Obviously his speed is something. He averaged 17 yards a catch and he gets by people, but he is so big, his hands are so big and his arms are so long. To say he was a red zone threat, he caught seven touchdowns, but those weren’t really on red zone types of things. Those were really deep balls, most of them. It’s not that he can’t do the red zone stuff, he just wasn’t a big part of their deal down there. The biggest thing is, I think the kid has great hands, has the ability to adjust to the ball and he is big. Those are some good qualities to have. Does he need some route work? Sure, but I think his other stuff outweighs some things. We think his ability is untapped and he will get a lot better as he picks up our offense and being around our team. We think he is going to be real good."
(On if Gordon can start right away)- "I don’t know what’s going to happen. We will just have to wait and see how training camp goes."
Updates on Contracts for Weeden & Richardson
(On if they can get an update on the contracts for Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson)- "You can, but there is really nothing to talk about. I haven’t talked to either guy in a while so there is nothing new to report."
(On if he expects that both Weeden and Richardson will be in camp on time)- "Yeah, I am sure they will. I don’t know how many guys are left unsigned but there is a lot. They will start falling into place here pretty soon, right before camp starts. But yeah, they will both be here."
Foundation of a New QB, RB, and WR for the Future
(On having a rookie quarterback, running back and wide receiver and if they are the foundation for the future)- "We hope so, that’s the idea. We made a conscious effort, like we did in the last two drafts where we said we were going to make our defense better. From a stat perspective and in our mind, we think our defense got a lot better in those two years. Now we have kind of loaded up on the offense like you said. They are young, but we think we have gotten a lot better on offense in one draft, now you add Josh in the mix too. We knew this was going to be a process but we think we have gotten a lot better just in the last few months."