Heading into this season Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon was someone who showed flashes, but lacked consistent production. It was easy to see that he had tremendous potential and with the right workload he could quickly gain draft-related hype.
Working in tandem with James White, Gordon has helped Wisconsin overcome shaky quarterback play to produce a 6-2 record. Wisconsin loves to allow Gordon to use his quickness to attack the edges of the defense. He features the explosiveness to outpace defensive angles and pick up big chunks of yardage.
Gordon reminds me a lot of Cordarrelle Patterson when he has the ball in his hands. He’s able to not only out run defenders, but also makes quick cuts and accelerates. I love how he lets his blocks develop and then quickly gets north and south.
This is a player whose best football is still ahead of him. However, there are parts of his game that need work—especially in pass protection. Gordon doesn’t square his body to the rusher and has a tendency to lunge rather than anchoring. If he can improve his pass protection Gordon could develop into one of the more explosive third-down backs in the NFL.
Unlike recent Wisconsin and Big 10 running backs, Gordon hasn’t been subjected to the punishment that comes with a high number of carries. Splitting carries with the likes of Montee Ball and James White means Gordon will enter the league with less wear on his body.
Gordon is still just a red-shirt sophomore, so it’s possible that he returns to school for another season. However, if he decides to make the jump to the NFL the combine will play a major role in where he comes off the board. Gordon plays with a ton of speed, but he needs to back that up with a top-notch 40 time.
As many have mentioned, running backs have a tendency to drop in the draft because of the declining value of the position. However, someone like Gordon could still work his way into the second-day mix. His big-play ability and explosiveness are the type of skills teams covet in a running back.