|David Manning-USA TODAY Sports|
|Running back Melvin Gordon decided to return for his redshirt junior season with Wisconsin.|
Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon might have passed up a chance to be the first back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
An NFL personnel director told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Gordon would have been the best back in this year's draft if he had decided to declare early entry and forgo his remaining two seasons of eligibility.
"He's so fluid and easy and graceful. He's (expletive) really good. He's a first-rounder," the scout said, per the report.
The story cites several other scouts and personnel executives who shared the same opinion of Gordon -- all agreed he would have been ranked No. 1 at running back on their draft boards. In fact, one scouting director said Gordon was head and shoulders above an unimpressive group of backs in this year's class, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Gordon ran for 1,609 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per carry in 2013, but his production dipped in the second half of the season. As he mulled over his options for 2014, he sought the advice of former Badgers running back and Broncos 2013 second-round pick Montee Ball, who told Gordon he should stay in school.
With a good redshirt junior season -- and an injury-free season -- it's quite possible that Gordon's stock will be just as strong, maybe even stronger, next season, if he decides to declare for the draft. But part of the reason so many underclass running backs (20 this year) opt to enter the draft early is because of the demands of the position, which result in shorter careers due to the wear and tear that comes with toting the rock.
We'll see how things play out, but it's quite possible that Gordon will end up wondering if Ball's advice wasn't so good.