Appearing today on The Dan Patrick Show, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon announced that he would be leaving school after his junior season to enter the 2015 NFL draft, writes Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk.
No running back has been selected in the first round of a draft since 2012, when Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, and David Wilson all came off the board within the first 32 picks. However, Gordon looks like a good bet to snap that first-round drought for backs — he’s coming off an outstanding season that saw him accumulate 2,336 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on 309 attempts, including a record-setting 408-yard performance last month against Nebraska.
ESPN’s general rankings list Gordon as the No. 1 running back in next year’s class, and the 16th-best prospect at any position, while Mel Kiper is even more bullish on the Badger, placing him seventh on his most recent big board. Kiper is wary of Gordon’s large workload in his final year of Wisconsin, but raved about his running ability: “Gordon is an easy accelerator, and he cuts with explosiveness and little wasted motion. He will miss a hole here and there in search of a bigger lane, but he has good vision, isn’t afraid of contact between the tackles or on the edge, and has breakaway speed when he gets in space.”
Although Gordon’s 300+ carries this season are of some concern, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) lauds the running back’s decision to turn pro, pointing out that heading to the NFL means he’ll avoid carrying the ball another 300+ times next season for free.