A year ago, Melvin Gordon III bet on himself.
Looking for a new long-term contract with the Chargers before his fifth season, he held out for much of training camp, preseason and the first quarter of the regular season. Ultimately, it didn't work out. Gordon returned late in September and made his season debut in Week 5, a preface to an uneven season in which he scored nine touchdowns but ran for just 612 yards, the lowest output of his career.
In 2020, Gordon departed to Denver looking to refresh his career, and with one game left in the season, it appears that a return to form is exactly what he accomplished.
Over his 14 games, Gordon has run for 893 yards and eight touchdowns. This is his fifth consecutive season with at least eight rushing touchdowns, but this is his already his best rushing yardage output since his 1,105-yard season in 2017. He's also been more efficient, carrying the ball for a gain of 4.7 yards on average, which is the second-best mark of his career.
With one game left, Gordon has a chance to rush for a second career 1,000-yard season. (Knock on wood.)
Back in March, Gordon noted that he retained a chip on his shoulder, and especially this year he wanted to prove his ability.
"I just felt like a lot of people doubt my talent as a back," Gordon said at the time. "During the holdout a lot of people just saying, 'Oh, he's an average back. He's not this. He's not that.' This year people are like, 'Oh, he's not the back that he was.' No one takes into account that I didn't have my center. I didn't have my left tackle. We had guys that were hurt and just in and out. I didn't have really my starting lineup. … You have some players that are in my position where they don't care if you have a good line or not or if your line is hurt or not. It's 'You're not what you [were].' It's 'You're an average player.'
"I'm going to take that and I'm going to use it as fuel, because I know what type of player I am. I want to show that. I want to show that and I am going to show that. I'm so excited. I'm better than just average."
In his first season with the Broncos, Gordon has definitely shown that.
Below the Fold
A major chunk of the 2020 NFL Draft order will be set on Sunday when the regular season comes to a close. As it stands now, the Broncos would hold the 10th-overall pick. The Athletic's Dane Brugler is already looking ahead with his most recent mock draft, and he's predicting Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons for the Broncos.