The Wisconsin football program is no stranger to producing NFL running backs. Looking all the way back to the 2000 NFL Draft and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne all the way to New England Patriots fourth round pick James White this past year, the Badgers have cranked out a solid number of NFL backs and the next in line appears to be Melvin Gordon.
Gordon, a redshirt junior, stands 6’1″ 207 pounds and might just be the best back this university has produced, at least in recent years or as it translates to NFL prospects (and I love Montee Ball).
For a player who rushed for over 1,600 yards in a given college season, you’d think it would be the result of a high volume of carries or touches out of the backfield. While I would hardly say 206 carries is not ‘a lot’ it’s certainly a far cry from the 3oo-plus carries some of the nation’s leading rushers receive.
Gordon drew comparisons last year to Jamaal Charles because of his 7.81 yard per carry average, best among all running backs in the country. That’s certainly a hefty number, especially considering teams have to key in on one dimension of the Wisconsin offense, which is the running game.
As a prospect, Gordon is a big, long-striding back with the ability to break away from the pack. He finished last season with 12 touchdowns, but he should eclipse 20 in his junior season now receiving the lion’s share of the carries. He combines size with breakaway speed and short area burst, as well as acceleration throughout the levels of the defense that lead me to believe he could break the recent trend of no running backs being taken in the first round.
The area we need to see more of Gordon is in the pass catching department. He caught just one pass all of last season, so NFL talent evaluators are going to need more of a sample size in that area of his game before taking him in the first round.
After watching Gordon all of last season and reviewing some of his games this year, it’s clear that the sky is the limit for this guy and that he has realistic first round aspirations.
Here’s a video cutup of his game against Arizona State last year from the great folks at DraftBreakdown.com, where his elite acceleration was on display.