Josh Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards last season, but he won’t have a chance to repeat that feat in 2014.
Gordon is facing a 16-game suspension from the league for again violating the substance abuse policy. The Cleveland Browns added Andrew Hawkins and Nate Burleson via free agency, but did not draft a wide receiver over the weekend.
Now the team is mulling over its options to address the position.
“I would tell the fans that are in panic mode because we didn’t draft a wide receiver that patience really tells the tale,” Browns general manager Ray Farmer said, via Fox 8 in Cleveland. “Like I said, there’s plenty of opportunity for us to address what everyone would believe is a need, but in our opinion, again, there’s plenty of opportunity to add players, to change the roster and really make a difference.”
The Browns had Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans as the two highest-rated wide receivers in the draft, and had a chance to land both of them. But when the Buffalo Bills offered up a first and fourth-round pick to move in the Browns’ spot at No. 4, the offer was too good to pass up.
Once Watkins came off the board to the Bills and Evans three picks later to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there was no other player the team viewed as being able to step into Gordon’s shoes.
The team drafted Johnny Manziel 22nd overall, then added offensive guard Joel Bitonia, running back Terrance West, linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback Pierre Desir. The selection of Desir in the fourth round was the Browns’ last chance to snag a wide receiver, but opted to draft a second corner instead.
After the draft, the Browns inked wide receiver Chandler Jones to a deal. Jones set San Jose State team records in both career receptions (248) and touchdown catches (29) as a four-year starter, and probably has a ceiling as a slot receiver and special teams contributor.
Perhaps a trade could be in the works? The Browns may be waiting to see if any veteran wideouts become available after being released or via trade, according to Sports Illustrated.