Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) runs with the ball against the Auburn Tigers during the second half in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon’s draft status has been a major topic of discussion since the college football season ended. In ESPN expert Todd McShay’s latest mock draft, he has Gordon sliding all the way down to the Baltimore Ravens at pick No. 26. Gordon has been associated with the Ravens quite a bit, but is it realistic for them to draft Gordon if he’s still on the board?
Earlier this offseason, the Ravens locked up last season’s breakout star Justin Forsett, signing him to a three-year, $9 million contract. However, Forsett is closing in on 30 years old and the average running back does not last too much longer, at least at a high level. The quality of depth behind Forsett is also very questionable. Bernard Pierce is now a Jacksonville Jaguar after being released by the Ravens and it remains to be seen if Lorenzo Taliaferro is capable of taking over as the No. 1 back when the time comes.
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That is where Gordon could come into play. Experts have been debating for months as to who the best running back in the draft class is, either Gordon or Georgia running back Todd Gurley. Despite tearing his ACL this past season, Gurley has shot up a number of mock drafts. McShay even has him going in the top ten picks now.
Gurley seems to be out of reach for Baltimore, but there is a pretty good chance that Gordon could be on the board when the Ravens are on the clock. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King also reported earlier this month that he is unlikely to slip past the Ravens at No. 26.
While it may seem a bit outlandish for the Ravens to go the running back route in the first round, with so many more pressing needs to address, it actually makes plenty of sense.
For starters, Gordon is just too good of a talent to pass up on. He can make plays on the ground, as well as catching passes out of the backfield. He is a versatile back built in the mold of Chiefs All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles. He is a change of pace back that would be a great fit in Baltimore.
Adding Melvin Gordon to the fold would give new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and quarterback Joe Flacco another intriguing weapon to play with. His combination of size, speed, and agility make him a viable option for the Ravens on offense for years to come.
By no means is running back even a top three priority for the Ravens. It may not even crack the top five. However, it’s not often that a talent such as Melvin Gordon come along. So, when he falls into your lap, you have to strongly consider capitalizing on the good fortune.