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Melvin Gordon enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a near record-setting final season as a Wisconsin Badger. He finished the year with 343 car., 2,587 yards and 29 TDs (he averaged 7.5 YPC). He added 19 rec., 153 yards and 3 TDs through the air. For his career, Gordon totaled 631 carries for 4,915 yards and 45 TDs. Gordon was the winner of the 2014 Doak Walker Award and was a Heisman Trophy finalist as well as a First Team All-American, First Team All-Big10, and the winner of the Big 10 Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. Physically, Gordon is a rocked-up 6’1”, 207 lbs; He actually looks heavier than his listed weight. He is well proportioned and has thick thighs that he uses to his advantage when breaking arm tackles. He appears to have added a lot of muscle between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, an indicator of his effort and maintenance of his body. Athletically, Gordon is loaded with juice and possesses movement skills similar to the likes of Jamal Charles. He has the kind of rare, effortless speed that makes everyone around him seem like they’re moving in slow motion. His feet are quick enough, and he has loose hips and (+) overall wiggle. While he’s not the kind of COD runner who can stop on a dime, he doesn’t require many steps when cutting against the grain. He’s the most dangerous outside runner in this class; He has elite next-level speed and will be able to take it to the house from anywhere on the field. His ability to patiently wait for the blocks to develop in front of him, combined with his elite, rare explosive first step when the running lane develops, suggests a lot of big plays next fall. Gordon runs “bigger” than his athletic traits would suggest in that he has more tackle-breaking ability than some of the better home-run hitting threats currently in the NFL. He’s capable of lowering his pad level on contact and driving the defender backward; he’s perfectly capable of gaining the tough yards. Gordon has improved his ability to run between the tackles in 2014, showing the kind of patience and coordinated footwork needed to make quick and decisive cuts when hitting the hole. Gordon is a competent pass catcher who is a smooth, gliding player after the catch. He needs some work in pass protection, which could limit his ability to initially play in passing situations next year. That said, his big play ability with the ball in his hands should result in opportunities as a receiver.
BOTTOM LINE: Melvin Gordon is the best running back in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he’s arguably the most talented running back prospect to enter the NFL in several years. While the value of running backs has slipped in recent drafts, Gordon is the kind of player that warrants a first-round selection. Melvin Gordon is a game breaker on the level of Jamal Charles who will make an instant impact in his rookie season.
GRADE: 8.7 (1st Round)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)