ESPN: Browns’ Gordon and Hughes primed for “breakouts”

Though his focus will likely be turning to who the Cleveland Browns will be drafting come this spring, two members of the current team make ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper’s list of potential breakout players for 2013 — wide receiver Josh Gordon and defensive tackle John Hughes.

On Gordon:

Technically, he shouldn’t be here, as he was one of the top rookie WRs overall. But it wasn’t until Nov. 18 that he caught four passes in a game. He had rust to work off, and after a 50-catch rookie season, he could be a 1,000-yard guy for years to come with plenty of big plays as part of his repertoire.

And on Hughes:

Billy Winn was the story early on for the Cleveland D-line, filling in for the injured Phil Taylor. But it was Hughes who played really well in the second half. If he has a great camp, he could start next to Taylor on the D-line in Week 1 next season.

While the likelihood of Hughes usurping Athyba Rubin as the starting tackle remains low, it’s refreshing that the two players listed were two of the biggest question marks heading into 2012. Gordon will technically be this year’s second-round selection, so the added benefit of having an NFL season under his belt cannot be overstated. Hughes was universally panned by those with the desire to instantly grade a draft, but if he can prove to build off of his second half, Tom Heckert will be able to add yet another rough-rooted diamond to his résumé.

[Related: WFNY Podcast – Brian Spaeth challenges Craig on Browns and media]

  • MchiD

    Man good thing we ran Heckert out of town.

  • SDA

    not to change the subject….. I’m watching the Jets press conference right now and Rex makes me laugh. No matter how main stream executive his look is I still see Buddy and Rob!!! It just doesn’t work. He should just wear a t-shirt and blue jeans and grow his hair and beard and be done with it lol

  • matt underwood

    F U Heckert!!! Thanks for nothing!

  • mgbode

    Winn outplayed Hughes until he was switched from DT to DE. And, as you mentioned, Hughes isn’t beating out Rubin to start. Gotta love the Kiper.

  • JHop

    It’s a matter of whether or not the little positive things he did (picking up solid role players like Hughes, Winn, Johnson, etc.) outweigh the major negative things he did (missing out on RG3, passing on Julio Jones, etc.). I think a fair argument can be made that they don’t.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Maybe he was thinking something like Seattle runs with a DT at DE, Bryant I believe is his name.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Define we please.

  • Harv 21

    and if we switch to a 3-4, Rubin, Taylor and Hughes can all be nose tackles. Depth – woo-hoo!! Break out of that, John Hughes.

  • mgbode

    if we do go 3-4:

    NT: Rubin & Taylor
    DE: Taylor, Hughes, Winn, Rucker

    Can Sheard play 3-4DE? Doesn’t seem fast enough for OLB.

  • Jaker

    Red Bryant. Monster, blocked two FGs against us in 2011

  • cmm13

    I’ll stick by the argument that it was Holmgren who missed out on RG3, not Tom until I am told otherwise.
    The speed at which Uncle Mike came out guns blazing to the media on a so-called “friendship” deal between St. Louis and Washigton to me, indicates he told Tom what to offer and it wasn’t enough.

    Now if you want to rag on some other Tom’s other picks, most notably his 2nd round selections.. go ahead.

  • dwhit110

    The lesson here is to remember not to scream when we draft a guy in the 3rd that Kiper says should have gone in 6th. Kiper’s great, but ultimately he’s in the field of predictions. Anyone who remembers the uproar (led by Kiper) when we took John Hughes has to chuckle now.

  • @TheDeePagel

    I was thinking the same thing, only wondering if Rubin would be a better fit on the DE of a 3-4, and keeping Taylor at NT.

    But this goes back to what was posted earlier on WFNY – we have the lineman for a 3-4, but no way close to having the LBs.

  • Harv 21

    Taylor is Ted Washington-size and skilled. He’s a pusher, only a nose in a 3-4. Could see Winn developing at end but not Hughes to any decent skill level. Let’s not talk about a 3-4 unless/until it’s announced, ok? OK?

  • mgbode

    yep. we’d be fine at ILB but have 2 holes at OLB. in the 4-3, we have a hole at pass-rush dominant DE. could use another LBer as well, but I don’t think it’s nearly as pressing.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I agree with your assessment but I don’t know if it was enough to warrant his firing. I wasn’t in love with Heckert by any means and I really question the decision to trade down when there was an opportunity to address the WR need with Julio Jones but that was just my opinion. Heckert did more then a reasonable job the unfortunate thing is he never really did any one tremendous thing that resonated. At least for me. The other problem is compared to previous GMs he had something to show. I think this more then anything is why alot of Browns fans wanted to see him stay. I think it was pretty clear though it was whatever was between Banner and Heckert that led to his dismissal.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I agree Holmgren liked to publicily say he was in the business side of the team but his paw prints were clearly all over the decisions at QB going back to McCoy. I still to this day question the whole debacle of trading to have the ability to draft Griffin. I don’t for one minute buy the load the Browns tried to sell concerning it. I believe there was probably a split between two groups and this is what led to no trade and then the selection of Weeden entirely to early in the draft. The one silver lining in all of this that i go back to is even if they somehow had drafted Griffin I don’t believe for a minute he’d have been half the player here as he was in Washington. Simply because of the coaching. The only thing that may have made a difference was Griffin’s ability. It may have been enough to overcome the shoddy coaching. I don’t know.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    That’s the monster for which I was speaking, thanks!

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Let’s go to a 5-1-5 defense!

    Sheard-Hughes-Taylor-Rubin-Winn, DQwell, Haden-Ward-Brown*-???-???

    Teams wouldn’t be able to run up the middle, and it would be a much longer line so harder to run around end. The pass rush would be strong, too. Sure, any spread offense would require some subbing of DLs for DBs, but that’s always true.

    Note: I *think* I’m joking.

    * At S only. Sheldon Brown should never ever play CB again.

  • Missing out on RG3 was a blessing in saving the picks and building our team…plus, as evidenced, the dude is pretty frail.

  • cmm13

    I’ll also reiterate Sham’s statement in that RG3 would have been the furthest thing from “RG3” under Shurmur as well.

  • horace

    exactly…would anyone really still have traded 3 firsts and a second for griffin knowing that he has a torn lcl and at least a partially torn acl (at the very least)? if the exploratory surgery reveals more damage, Griffin will likely not be 100% until 2014. before anyone says hindsight is 20/20, we knew that Griffin already tore an acl back at Baylor an .played a dangerous, borderline reckless brand of football. the tally is now 1 concussion and possibly 2 ACL tears for a 22 year old.

    as for wasting the 22 pick on weeden…ugh.

  • CBI

    Couldn’t agree more.

  • fred

    Heckert was simply average; a stark improvement from anyone in the ‘expansion’ era of the Browns.