At 6’3″, 225 pounds, Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns seems like the prototypical combination of strength, speed and size for a wide receiver in the NFL. Gordon had 50 catches for 805 yards with five touchdown receptions, which was solid among the crop of rookie receivers; it was even more impressive since he hadn’t played since 2010 due to college football’s transferring rules.
What will certainly not help his chances of breaking out, and thus having the dreaded “Sophomore Slump,” is that Gordon has been suspended for the first two games of the 2013 NFL Season due to failing a drug test. This isn’t his first time failing a drug test either, he did fail one in college, and that is the main reason why he transferred schools.
Also, when he comes back, teams will be double covering and playing him more physically since he is the Browns’ n0. 1 wide receiver, and it’s not close on the team. This will hinder Gordon’s growth due to the fact that the Browns have a new head coach in Rob Chudzinski, and while he doesn’t miss any preseason time between games and practices, usually coaches don’t open the entire playbook during this time of year.
Finally, another reason why Gordon will take a production dip is that there is also a full season of game film to watch of him now, so teams can gameplan for him, completely breaking down his movements step by step. All and all, will Gordon fall off after a very good rookie campaign? The easy answer is maybe, but time will tell as we will be watching the 14 regular games he’s slated to play this year.