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MRU: Gordon should go No. 1

Posted Jan 22, 2014

Here’s why Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon should be the No. 1 pick of the skill players when Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders make their selections Wednesday.

Should Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon be the No. 1 overall pick of the skill-position players when Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders participate in the inaugural Pro Bowl draft Wednesday night?

Here’s why he should be.

Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 yards and a 117.6 yards-per-game average, becoming the first Browns player ever to lead the NFL in receiving yards, and also the first NFL player since St. Louis’ Torry Holt to lead in the league in both yards and yards-per-game average.

Gordon also led the NFL with the longest reception (95-yard touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars) and longest touchdown reception, as well as catches of 20 or more yards (30), and receptions of 40 or more yards (nine). He finished the year with the sixth-best yards-per-game average and 10th most single-season receiving yards in NFL history.

After breaking and resetting the franchise record for receiving yards in back-to-back weeks (Nov. 24 against Pittsburgh and Dec. 1 against Jacksonville), Gordon totaled 151 yards and one touchdown, an 80-yard score, against the New England Patriots on Dec. 8, and now owns the NFL records for the most yards in a two-game (498), three-game (623) and four-game stretch (774). His back-to-back 200-yard receiving games against the Steelers and Jaguars were a first in NFL history.

With the Pro Bowl draft, instead of the traditional AFC and NFC rosters, it means that Gordon could actually line up against someone he has seen nearly every day in practice in each of the last two seasons, fourth-year Browns defensive back Joe Haden.

Prior to the end of the season, Haden said competing with Gordon, whom he calls J.G., is something he looks forward while on the practice field.

“I think definitely having someone like J.G. on your team, where I could follow him at practice too, makes me and him a whole lot better,” Haden said. “When you’ve got to come in and play J.G., you’ve got to have a really good game. You’ve got to be ready to play him. You have to, I don’t know. You might have to have help with J.G.

“Everything J.G. does is impressive. He’s catching the ball. He catches it in traffic. He runs across the middle. He runs deep post routes, runs comebacks. He’s doing the whole tree. I look at (Patriots cornerback Aqib) Talib as one of the best corners in the league, too. He’s been doing a great job of covering, is big, physical, in your face. Josh did his thing against him too, so I’m just proud of him. He’s developing into a really, really top receiver.”

MACK GOES TO SANDERS

On Tuesday, Sanders and Rice held a draft for offensive and defensive linemen, as well as the fullbacks and special-teams players. Sanders elected to draft a pair of centers, including the Browns’ Alex Mack.

Mack joined the Browns as a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, and has since started 80 straight games, and begun 4,998 consecutive plays for the team. Following the season, he received his first All-Pro honors from the Associated Press.

CHANGES TO PLAYOFFS?

If the NFL ever moved to include more teams in the postseason, Commissioner Roger Goodell said three games could each be played on Saturday and Sunday, or even Friday or Monday nights, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

“The big discussion would be the first weekend, the wild card weekend of the playoffs, how would you structure that? Three on Saturday, three on Sunday? We’re looking at every alternative, and I think that’s what the membership ultimately is going to have to decide,” Goodell said. “Would you play a game on Friday night, two on Saturday, two on Sunday and another on Monday?”