LaDainian Tomlinson: Melvin Gordon should be first RB drafted

Former San Diego Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson believes Melvin Gordon will be the first running back chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft, thanks in part to the knee injury that Georgia's Todd Gurley suffered in November.

And for whichever club lands the former Wisconsin star and Heisman Trophy finalist, Tomlinson sees a Jamaal Charles-like talent.

"I think Melvin Gordon to me, is a guy who reminds me a lot of Jamaal Charles. So I think clearly he will be the No. 1 running back coming off the board for the simple fact that Todd Gurley is coming off of that injury," Tomlinson said on NFL Network Wednesday from the Super Bowl media center in Phoenix.

Gurley, too, was in contention for the Heisman early in the season before a suspension -- initiated by Georgia but lengthened by the NCAA -- cost him four games and derailed his Heisman campaign. In the game he returned to action, Nov. 15 against Auburn, he tore the ACL in his left knee and has been rehabilitating ever since.

"If it hadn't been for that injury, those guys would be neck and neck for the No. 1 running back coming off the board," Tomlinson added. "Todd Gurley, with the size he possesses, the athletic ability, the guy returns kicks -- are you kidding me? He's a phenomenal player. (If he returns healthy) he is going to be a steal."

Gordon's season became all that Gurley's was supposed to have been, rushing for a whopping 2,587 yards, including a then-record 408 against Nebraska on the very day Gurley was injured. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes a running back will be drafted in the first round for the first time since Trent Richardson in 2012. In fact, Jeremiah has two first-round running backs in his initial 2015 mock draft, with Gordon going to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 27 and Gurley going to the New England Patriots at No. 31.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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