The last time the Browns went the route of the supplemental draft for help, things worked out pretty well.
In 1985 they picked University of Miami (Fla.) quarterback Bernie Kosar with a supplemental choice that was acquired from the Buffalo Bills in a complicated deal. Kosar led the Browns to AFC Championship Game appearances in 1986, '87 and '89 before injuries began to take a toll.
The Browns made another bold move in the supplemental draft Thursday when they used a second-round choice on former Baylor receiver Josh Gordon. By selecting Gordon, the Browns forfeited their second-round pick in the 2013 draft.
Brown general manager Tom Heckert thinks Gordon could develop into a number one receiver. He was asked if Gordon is an elite prospect.
"Anyone at that size (6-3, 224), yeah, I would say so," Heckert said. "He has a ways to go before he'll be elite, but with his size, athletic ability and speed, he's up there."
The Browns received some good fortune when a three-tiered, semi-lottery system that favors teams that had six or fewer wins last season placed them in the second spot, behind only the Buffalo Bills. Teams then place bids for the round they want to select a player. No team put up a first-round bid, and the Bills passed on Gordon with their second-round choice.
Gordon comes with plenty of upside but equally as much off-the-field baggage. He and teammate Willie Jefferson were arrested in October of 2010 after falling asleep in a drive-through line at a fast-foot restaurant. A misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana was eventually dropped.
Gordon was suspended by Baylor coach Art Briles for breaking an undisclosed rules violation prior to the start of last season. Gordon later told John McClain of the "Houston Chronicle" that he failed a marijuana test.
Gordon transferred to Utah but never played a down. He decided instead of sit out the season and enter the supplemental draft.
The Browns hosted Gordon last week to test him physically and to discuss his off-the-field issues. They're confident he won't be a problem player.
"It's something we did our homework on, no question about it," Heckert said. "We met him here and we talked to a zillion guys at Baylor and Utah, and we couldn't get anybody to say one bad thing about the kid. We're not 100 percent (sure) on anybody, but we feel he'll be a positive influence on the team."
Gordon will provide rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden with a big target to complement Greg Little. Like Little, who had 61 receptions as a rookie last year, Gordon has good speed (he claims he can run in the 4.4 range, but ran a 4.52 for scouts last week in Houston). He's known for his ability to gain yards after making the catch.
Little sat out the 2010 season at North Carolina when he lost his eligibility because of contact he had with an agent. His situation, however, is different than Gordon's.
"This kid did practice (at Utah)," Heckert said. "At least he's been doing something. He hasn't played in a real game. That's something he'll have to get used to."
Gordon showed promise with the Bears as a sophomore in 2010, catching 42 passes for 714 yards from quarterback Robert Griffin III. Gordon would have teamed with Kendall Wright to give Griffin two talented targets last season.
Wright was selected 20th overall by the Tennessee Titans. Some scouts believe Gordon would have been a better prospect than Wright if he had played last season. Griffin, who was selected by the Washington Redskins with the second overall pick in this year's draft, reportedly urged the Redskins to go after Gordon.
The Browns lost out to the Redskins in trying to trade up with St. Louis to draft Griffin, but they made sure they didn't lose out to any team this time.
"We looked at the guys in next year's draft and compared him to those guys," Heckert said. "Where we got Josh was good value, and you get him a year early."