The Cleveland Browns did very well for themselves at the running back position in last year's NFL draft, but that won't prevent general manager Ray Farmer from taking a close look at the very best the position has to offer in 2015. Former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon's tour of pre-draft visits will make a stop in Cleveland this week, and Georgia running back Todd Gurley has already visited the Browns, according to NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport.
The Browns were able to get 1,280-rushing-yards worth of rookie production last year, between third-round pick Terrance West and undrafted free agent Isaiah Crowell. Despite getting a big boost in its running game at a cheap draft price in 2014, Cleveland will take a closer look at Gordon, the 2014 Heisman Trophy finalist, on Friday, according to Rapoport.
While the Browns have a promising future in the backfield already, they certainly have the flexibility to do something unexpected in the first round, given that they hold two of the draft's first 19 picks (Nos. 12 and 19). Gordon rushed for a whopping 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns last season to lead the NCAA's entire 125-team FBS field by more than 500 yards. The former Badgers star believes he is jockeying with Georgia's Todd Gurley to be the first running back chosen in the draft.
Gurley's final college season didn't go nearly as smoothly as Gordon's.
He missed four games under a suspension that was first levied by Georgia, then extended by the NCAA, for profiting from autographed memorabilia. In his first game back from suspension on Nov. 15, he tore knee ligaments in the fourth quarter of a game against Auburn, on his season-high 29th carry. Gurley's rehabilitation schedule projects his return for this summer.
Cleveland's primary draft needs include wide receiver, quarterback, tight end, linebacker and nose tackle. NFL Media mock draft projections for the club's first pick at No. 12 are scattered in all sorts of directions -- almost everywhere but running back. Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton, West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White and offensive linemen La'el Collins of LSU and Ereck Flowers of Miami are all among the projections for the No. 12 pick.
There isn't a projection of a running back for Cleveland at No. 19, either.
The Dallas Cowboys, drafting at No. 27 overall and in much more obvious need of a running back, have hosted both.