College football is about to start, and it's never too early to start scouting for next year's crop of potential Seattle draft picks.
I don’t think that Marshawn Lynch will be a Seahawk in 2015. We'll enjoy this season for sure, but his salary cap hit goes up to $8.5M next year and he'll be a 29-year old at a position with a notoriously short shelf life. This has led me to look at some running backs for the 2015 NFL Draft. I’m not talking about sleepers that Seattle would pick up in the late rounds, I’m thinking first round. Probably late first round, but since there has been a decrease in the value of that particular position, it’s really likely that we’d be able to get one of the two or three best backs in the draft at pick 28+.
Jared highlighted Mike Davis yesterday, and today I want to talk about my favorite player to watch in college football, Melvin Gordon. He doesn’t have the greatest power, he’s not a great pass protector, and he’s unproven as a receiver, but he does do things like this:
I think the Seahawks could get a few explosive plays out of this guy.
Now, I mentioned earlier that he doesn’t have the greatest power in the world, but he has a combination of vision and balance that I really think makes up for it. He’s very patient with his running, he sets up blockers well, and I just really love watching him run.
Now, I really want him on the team, a lot, and I think he fits. Unfortunately if the Seahwaks do draft him, I think it means that they don’t like what’s happening with Christine Michael or they’re planning to go more running-back-by-committee. I actually think that the second option would be best for Gordon. He didn’t get most of the carries at Wisconsin, he was second on the team behind James White, and that’s mostly because of his lack of skills at pass protection (which we assume can be fixed with experience and coaching).
What he does do is create explosive plays. He can get the 4 yards per run too, but mostly you’re going to draft him for this kind of thing:
One of the weird things about how the Badgers used Gordon is where they lined him up on some of his more exciting plays, you've likely noticed yourself. If not, here's a hint:
He's often lined up as a wide receiver and used on sweeps. This could be seen as a negative, because this gives him an advantage over the defense as he starts out running. What he also does from this motion is start moving this way to look like one of the sweeps, only to crash down on the edge defender, opening up the outside for the back. Also, reading this, am I the only one thinking of a split back formation with Percy Harvin and Christine Michael as the backs and Gordon split out wide? So much speed.
I think we have gotten a bit spoiled from the Beast’s power, and if there was a back in this draft that could do what he does I’d highlight him, but I just don’t see one. What I do see is a running back with great balance, vision, acceleration, and speed, who complements those with adequate to good power, and needs work on something that can easily be worked on and isn’t necessarily needed to be an elite running back in the NFL (just look at Matt Forte, his pass blocking grade on PFF was one of the five worst among running backs).
And this is my favorite of all of Gordon's runs, just for kicks.