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Draft Prospect File: Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon


Although his speed and quickness are what you hope to find in a pro running back, and his measurements -- and 215-pound frame -- are of every-down caliber, what separates Gordon is his preternatural ability to read plays before they develop and adjust accordingly.

Gordon doesn't possess the blinding quickness of Barry Sanders -- few do, so this isn't a negative -- but he does have Sanders-like vision and an ability to change direction smoothly and quickly. That allowed Gordon to push toward Sanders' single-season NCAA rushing record before falling six yards short last year.

He's a long strider, so when he gets into the open field, he gobbles up yardage in a hurry, which contributed to his 7.6-yards-per-carry average last year.

But Gordon must improve his fumble rate -- which was one every 51.7 touches last year and was one every 55.1 touches for his years in Madison.



Gordon was more active in the passing game last year; he caught 19 passes for 153 yards and three scores after hauling in three passes in his first three seasons. But he wasn't used often in protection, and will have to devote plenty of time to learning how to pick up A-gap blitzes, as well as running routes out of the backfield, to become elite.

The passing emphasis of today's NFL is also why there's so much chatter about whether Gordon, Gurley or both can become the first running backs taken in Round 1 since 2012.

But even if Gordon and Gurley go off the board in the first round, the overall trend regarding running back value is undeniable and may not change in the near future.

"It's a passing game. It's hard to say if we're a devalued position. Teams are just going with the picks they actually need," Gordon said. "I don't know the thoughts that's going through their head. Maybe they didn't feel the running backs the last couple of years were first-round talent, I don't know. (Pittsburgh's) Le'Veon Bell and (Cincinnati's) Gio (Bernard) were pretty good. I can't answer that."

But Gordon does know that his development in the passing game will play a major role in determining whether he lives up to his massive potential.


Weight:215 pounds
Arm:32 3/8 inches (T-5th among 36 Combine RBs)
Hand:9 3/4 inches (T-8th among 36 Combine RBs)
Bench Press:19 repetitions (T-15th among 30 Combine RBs)
40-yard dash:4.52 seconds (T-5th among 30 Combine RBs)
Vertical jump:35 inches (15th among 32 Combine RBs)
Broad jump:10 feet, 6 inches (3rd among 32 Combine RBs)
Three-cone drill:7.04 seconds (8th among 25 Combine RBs)
Short shuttle:4.07 seconds (2nd among 25 Combine RBs)


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