Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Ht. 6005, Wt. 215, Arm: 32 3/8”, Hand: 9 3/4”, Bench: 19
40 yd: 4.52, 10 yd.: 1.63, 3 Cone: 7.04, Vertical: 35”, Broad: 10’6”
Games Watched: LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State
With questions at running back, it’s a good bet that the Cowboys will spend a first- or second-round pick on the position in this year’s running back-rich draft. Aside from Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin back Melvin Gordon might offer the most upside in Dallas.
In 2014, Gordon led the nation with 2,587 yards rushing (second best in FBS history), won the Doak Walker Award and finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He set FBS records for yards in a game when he ran for 408 yards against Nebraska (which stood for one week) and career average of 7.79 yards per carry.
Gordon wins with elite quickness. He gets up to full speed more quickly than any running back I’ve seen in a few years. He also cuts on a dime and moves very well laterally.
The other elite quality that makes Gordon special is his body control. He makes himself skinny through the hole and is slippery for a back his size. It’s amazing to watch him bounce off defenders without losing stride.
Wisconsin ran a mix of mostly man blocking and inside zone, but Gordon seemed most comfortable on sweeps. He quickly spots cutback lanes and is decisive through gaps, making him an ideal fit for the Cowboys’ zone runs.
Defenders caught Gordon from behind an awful lot in 2014. Mediocre long speed isn’t a huge issue, but he offers a hefty drop-off from Murray in that area.
Gordon didn’t catch one pass in the three games I watched and only caught 22 in his college career. Wisconsin’s quarterback didn’t look in his direction much, but there were a few times he was late getting his head around as a check down option.
Verdict: Fringe First Rounder
Gordon has some zone experience, but his speed through gaps and ability in space should make him attractive to Dallas. He’s often compared to former Longhorn Jamaal Charles, but he’s looks more like a slightly poor man’s DeMarco Murray to me.
While I think Gurley is the better running back prospect in a vacuum, Gordon is a better fit for the offense the Cowboys ran in 2014. He is worth the 27th pick, but Dallas might have to move up a few slots in order to land him.