I tempered my expectations when the New England Patriots traded for wide receiver Josh Gordon ahead of week 3 of the NFL season. I considered it a low-risk, high-reward move that almost every team should have been willing to make- but I also recognized that there would be difficulty in Gordon acclimating to a new team and playbook.
Well, we’re half a season into the Gordon-era and I think it’s fair to say that Gordon has been one of the best receiver acquisitions of the Bill Belichick era.
Gordon racked up 31 receptions for 547 yards and 2 touchdowns over his first eight games, which places his name among some of the most impressive receivers in recent franchise history. I must also call attention to the fact that Gordon has produced without having a full offseason with the team, so his production is even more impressive in that context.
Only three receivers have outproduced Gordon over their first eight games in a Patriots uniform with Tom Brady at quarterback:
- Randy Moss: 47 receptions, 779 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns
- Wes Welker: 56 receptions, 613 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
- Brandin Cooks: 33 receptions, 563 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
- Josh Gordon: 31 receptions, 547 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
No other Patriots player has recorded more than 500 receiving yards in their first eight games with Tom Brady. Again, Gordon did this without an offseason to learn the playbook.
The Patriots have mainly used Gordon in two capacities: on quick slants where he can use his body to box out the defensive back and on jump balls down the field where he can use his incredible athleticism to come down with the football. Gordon should continue to improve with more time in the system and since he’ll be a restricted free agent this offseason, he’ll hopefully return to even greater production in 2019.
For those interested, here’s the top 20 players for their receiving production over their first eight games with Tom Brady (regular season only), using the receptions/receiving yards/touchdowns slash. Does any of this surprise you?
- Randy Moss: 47/779/11
- Wes Welker: 56/613/6
- Brandin Cooks: 33/563/3
- Josh Gordon: 31/547/2
- Brandon LaFell: 30/461/4
- Aaron Dobson: 31/454/4
- Aaron Hernandez: 34/436/2
- Brandon Lloyd: 37/435/3
- Troy Brown: 33/428/2
- Dion Lewis: 39/414/2
- Danny Amendola: 37/412/1
- Donte’ Stallworth: 26/411/3
- Deion Branch: 37/408/2
- Martellus Bennett: 31/402/4
- Chris Hogan: 19/391/2
- David Patten: 24/382/4
- Kenbrell Thompkins: 23/334/4
- Reche Caldwell: 23/245/1
- Julian Edelman: 26/228/1
- Danny Woodhead: 22/217/1