Why Melvin Gordon should have a big rookie season

Gordon McGuinness explains why Chargers rookie RB Melvin Gordon is primed for a breakout year.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Why Melvin Gordon should have a big rookie season

Although he didn’t play against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night, with a minor injury keeping him out of the second preseason game, Melvin Gordon is expected to do big things for the San Diego Chargers this season.

The first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin didn’t have a great preseason debut, rushing for just 11 yards on six carries against the Cowboys (although he did force two missed tackles), but there is plenty of reason to think he will have a good NFL career.

He ranked third in the nation behind only Pittsburgh’s James Conner and Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott among running backs in our grading system, racking up 2,593 yards on the ground and forcing 74 missed tackles on his 343 carries. Army’s Terry Baggett and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman were the only draft-eligible running backs to average more yards after contact than the 3.6 managed by Gordon, and those two things combined helped him finish the year with the third-highest elusive rating of all the running backs in the 2015 NFL draft.

He was used sparingly as a receiver in his final season at Wisconsin, with just 19 catches for 153 yards, but that shouldn’t be a problem in a Chargers offense that already has two good pass-catching backs in Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver (he forced 14 missed tackles on just 36 catches last season).

In fact, the trio of Gordon, Woodhead and Oliver gives the Chargers the best backfield they’ve had since the days of having Michael Turner backing up LaDainian Tomlinson, so it’s no wonder that there is optimism about what the Chargers offense can do in 2015.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • Todd Waxman

    Not a very convincing article when it starts by mentioning a minor injury and not a great preseason debut.

  • http://couchable.co Tyler Herman

    I don’t see how he’s going to get the opportunity to have a nice season. The backfield is way to crowded with other talented backs.

    • http://careersreport.com Shona Bryant

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  • josper

    I think he seems limited carries first of half of the season. No need to rush him into action, let him watch the vets put in work, and learn from Woodhead putting on a passing-down clinic. Gordon can stay fresh and once he learns the playbook and gains some experience in situational football he’ll be ready to blow past worn-down defenses later in the year.