Photo of Melvin Gordon
Drafted By: Chargers
  • Round 1
  • Pick 15
  • Overall 15

Combine Results

6.24 ?
  • 4.52 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 19 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 35.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 126.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.04 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.07 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 11.00 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"I really like this kid. He lights up the room. He has special talent and ability. He catches the football well out of the backfield. When you watch him run in tight areas, that is what differentiates him. Gordon changes the whole balance of the Chargers' offense now. Philip Rivers will get better also." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'1" Height
  • 32 3/8" Arm Length
  • 215LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/4" Hands


In 2014, posted the second-most single-season rushing yards in FBS History with 2,587 (Barry Sanders is No. 1 with 2,628 in 1988). Won Doak Walker Award (nation's best running back) and was selected first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten. Was Heisman runner-up to Marcus Mariota. Gordon briefly held the FBS single-game rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska. Set school records with 12 100-yard games and six 200-yard games. Led the nation with 29 rushing touchdowns. In 2013, selected second-team All-Big Ten after leading the nation with 7.8 yards per carry. Was the only player in FBS with three runs of 70-plus yards. In 2012, rushed for 216 yards in Big Ten Championship Game against Nebraska. In 2011, played in three games before a groin injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Was first-team All-State and Offensive Player of the Year in Wisconsin after rushing for 2,009 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior. Growing up, Michigan State cornerback and 2015 draft prospect Trae Waynes was his best friend.



Tall, leggy running back with shredded physique. Transitions run from inside to outside without losing any speed. Can cover five yards in two strides when fully unlocked in open field. Impressive 20-yard burst, creating space to hit the big runs. Averaged 7.6 yards per carry over last two seasons. Had 40 runs for 15-plus yards in 2014. Shifty in open field without having to hesitate. Uses jump-cut at line of scrimmage to change gaps and avoid tacklers. Has an effective spin move to make defenders miss in open field. Great agility and plus balance hurdling opponents diving at his legs. Feet keep moving in tight spaces, probing for daylight. Able to consistently beat college defenders to flank. Loves to run over the tackles. Shows ability to create for himself and has burst and agility to turn small gain into big one. Improved as a pass-catcher over second half of the 2014 season.


Desires to bounce runs wide too often. Not as trusting of blocking from B-gap to B-gap. Held to "stuffs" -- runs resulting in no yards or a loss -- on 19.2 percent of his carries. Feel and instincts as interior runner need improvement. Shows indecisiveness as one-cut runner. Would gear down and stutter-step to line, waiting for crease to show itself rather than adjusting on fly and taking what was available. Play strength through hole was only average. Used speed over strength to create many missed or broken tackles. Benefited from gaping running lanes. Ball security was an issue. Fumbled six times over his final five games, often being stripped while finishing run. Uncomfortable pass-catcher with marginal hands. Either dropped, double caught or smothered many throws. Pass protection needs work. Might have to come off field on third downs.

Draft Projection

Round 1

NFL Comparison

Robert Smith

Bottom Line

Angular, talented open-field runner who combines outstanding burst with a long stride to gain separation and hit the home run. He won't be able to outrun NFL defenders like he did in college and must develop more feel between the tackles. Gordon shines when his track runs over tackle or around the end and can put a defense to sleep around the corner. Not trustworthy enough to be a three-down back, but his pass-catching improved enough to utilize him out of backfield as a receiver.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.