San Diego Chargers get it horribly wrong in drafting Melvin Gordon 17th overall

The San Diego Chargers traded with the San Francisco 49ers up two spots, leapfrogging the Houston Texans, to draft Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. 

Basically, the Chargers were scared the Texans were going to nab Gordon and wanted to make sure they got Gordon. Well, they got him.

But why?

This is a deep class at running back, and Gordon doesn’t particularly stand out from the rest (like Todd Gurely). He has average acceleration, adequate vision, and decent burst. Behind the pile-driving Badgers’ line and scheme, it was enough against the average Big 10 defenses. 

The NFL isn’t the Big 10 though. The NFL is more like Ohio State in the Big 10 Championship game, where he rushed for 76 yards on 26 carries, every Sunday. It’s not a promising game when, against the most talented team of the prospect’s career, he rushes for less than three yards per carry. 

Granted, he should have more passing help in the NFL than he did that Saturday (187 yards). As much as the Ohio State game stings as well, there’s a lot of good game tape on Gordon, FBS’ 2014 rushing champion. You don’t get that many yards without having talent.

But he’s not a player worth trading up for by a team with a weak roster. Here’s part of what had to say about the selection:

Gordon (6’1/215) succeeded Montee Ball as Wisconsin’s bell-cow, parlaying 631 career carries into 4,915 yards (7.79 YPC!) and 45 touchdowns. On the flipside, he caught only 22 passes, and is a sub-par pass blocker on tape. “MG3” ran 4.52 at the Combine with a 35-inch vertical and explosive 10-foot-6 broad jump. Gordon has elite burst, but was stuffed for no yardage or a loss on nearly 20 percent of his college runs. He also fumbled once every 54.4 touches, the second highest fumble rate in the 2015 class. 

 That’s a lot of concerns for a player with a first, fourth, and fifth selection tied to him.It’s not that Gordon will be a bad player; it just seems unlikely that he’ll ever live up to his draft status.

Considering all the talented players left on the board, it seems like a bit of a reach. Gordon could be remembered as the guy who went before future stars as Bud Depree, Malcolm Brown, and Dorial Green-Beckham, among others, were all left on the board.

A number of these players could have provided more production than Gordon likely will. 

With the Chargers having a franchise quarterback from a prior regime, two 9-7 seasons under the current one, and a move to Los Angelas on the horizon, the Chargers need a spark to regenerate interest in the team, or else the current brain trust, Mike McCoy and Tom Telesco, may be fired. LA is a tough market, requiring teams that, at the very least, have the illusion of progress. 

It remains to be seen if Gordon can provide this progress.

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Pressley Nietering

Pressley Nietering is an up-and-coming writer. He will attend Clemson University. Follow him on Twitter @Pressme


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