Breakdown: Chargers Select Melvin Gordon

Everything you need to know about the San Diego Chargers’ first-round selection of RB Melvin Gordon out of Wisconsin from Scout's college and pro football experts.


Awaiting Image
Melvin Gordon
Wisconsin / 6'1 / 215 lbs
  • RB
  • [1] #15

Analysis

How much money did Melvin Gordon make for himself by coming back for his senior season? He finished with 2,587 yards (7.81 yards/carry), and 29 scores in 2014. Against Nebraska last fall he rushed for 408 yards! I certainly believe Gordon could very well be the first player taken at running back and in the first round. He possesses good size (6-1/215) and excellent balance and vision. Gordon has good speed and a terrific burst once a hole opens up. He has excellent short area quickness and agility and shows the uncanny ability to make defenders miss or plant and drive right by would be tacklers.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

When was the last time a team traded up for a running back in today’s NFL? I love it. Gordon and the Chargers seem like an ideal match. How much money did Gordon make for himself by coming back for his senior season? He finished with 2,587 yards (7.81 yards/carry), and 29 scores in 2014. Against Nebraska last fall he rushed for 408 yards! He possesses good size (6-1/215) and excellent balance and vision. Gordon has good speed and a terrific burst once a hole opens up. He has excellent short area quickness and agility and shows the uncanny ability to make defenders miss or plant and drive right by would be tacklers. Gordon is going to make Phillip Rivers a better quarterback and will take some pressure off of this veteran signal caller.

Melvin Gordon shows explosive lateral agility and movement and is a threat to break for a long run any time he frees himself along the perimeter. He has the crisp plant-&-drive agility to make sharp cuts and despite his exceptional quickness, he is a patient runner waiting for blocks to develop. He has outstanding balance on the move, keeping his feet churning to break arm tackles.

His acceleration makes him a viable threat and he has more than enough moves to defeat a defense on his own to gain separation. He is best when running off tackle, but he also has the power and hip wiggle to go for big yardage running inside. With a pair of first round picks, Cleveland could snatch up Gordon before Miami gets a chance, but with contract issues (DeMarco Murray) looming, look for Dallas to possibly trade up (Browns?) and replace one league leading rusher with college’s leading ball carrier.

Gordon has a burst and maintains acceleration on extended runs. He might lack blazing speed, but his quickness makes him competitive. He has that body control and balance, along with loose hips to redirect and separate in the open. He doesn’t have that explosion to win foot races vs. cornerbacks, but has the moves to set up the defender and elude. He runs inside with very good body lean and awareness, especially when picking and sliding.

His short area burst lets him bounce to the outside when the middle is clogged. He is a good downhill runner with the slippery moves and change of direction agility to get through trash. He knows how to get skinny through tight creases, but needs to improve his leg drive, as he is not the type to move the piles. Gordon runs with good awareness and body lean, but also has the agility to bounce outside when he generates a short burst. He compensates for a lack of raw power (strength is functional) with his balance and body control running up the middle. He is much more effective eluding defenders with his lateral slide and veer moves, combining them with his burst, but will never be confused for being a nifty outside runner.

The Badger is much more slippery than explosive in his stride. When he tries to make multiple moves in space, the defense has time to recover. His range and cutback agility will generally take the defenders off their feet. Even though he is not used much in this area, Gordon has soft, natural hands, doing a good job of catching the ball outside his frame. He has the vision to look the ball in over his outside shoulder and the cutting agility to separate after the catch.

Gordon is used mostly on controlled routes, but has the quick stride to be lined wide or in the slot. He is very effective settling in underneath and is alert to coverage (very rare to see him run into crowded spots).

Gordon is a willing blocker with a good eye for picking up the blitz. He shows good intent and aggression chipping on edge rushers and gives the quarterback enough room to operate when protecting the pocket. He will not hesitate to face up and fight for position blocking in-line and makes a determined effort to engage.

NFL Scouting Combine Measureables
6-1/215 (4.52 forty)
32 3/8 arm length
9 3/4 hand size
19 reps
35-inch vertical jump
126-inch broad jump
7.04 3-cone
4.07 20-yard shuttle
11.0 60-yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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