The Chargers moved up in Thursday’s NFL Draft, and moved into the spot belonging to the 49ers. With the pick they took Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
Wisconsin has been a factory for NFL running games with offensive linemen and running backs. Among the halfbacks, Gordon is the best prospect who the program has produced as he is a more talented athlete than any of its other star backs. Montee Ball, James White, John Clay and many other Wisconsin backs who have been drafted in recent years, but Gordon is the best of the bunch.
What makes Gordon so special is rare speed. He has great first-step quickness and a second gear to take off like a bolt of lightning down the field. Gordon is difficult to catch once in the open field as he runs away from defenders. Gordon is extremely fast to hit the hole and accelerate to the second level of the defense. To go along with his great speed, Gordon has good balance, vision and cutting ability. He weaves his way around tacklers and is very hard to get a hold of.
Gordon was bigger and stronger year over year in 2014. That allowed him to add more power to his repertoire as he showed an improved ability to break tackles and pick up yards after contact. Gordon has quality size and has proven to be durable over the past three seasons.
The Kenosha, Wisconsin product stood out while backing up Ball and White in 2012. While Gordon didn’t get a lot of opportunities, he made the most of his limited chances while averaging 10 yards per carry. Gordon ran for 621 yards and three touchdowns on only 62 carries as a freshman.
With Ball in the NFL, Gordon was one of the most explosive backs in the nation in 2013. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry for the year for 1,609 yards on only 206 carries and 12 touchdowns. If White hadn’t taken carries away so Wisconsin would’ve allowed Gordon to reach 300 carries, he could have added on maybe another 1,000 yards.