RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
College Career: Redshirt junior was a Heisman finalist in 2014 after one of the greatest collegiate seasons a running back has ever had. Averaged an insane 7.8 yards per carry on 631 career rushes. Broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s NCAA single-game rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska. Ran for 2,587 yards in 2014, just 41 shy of Barry Sanders’ NCAA single-season rushing record.
Strengths: Great athleticism, balance and change of direction. Will run away from defenses. Home run waiting to happen. Doesn’t get enough credit for his physicality as he was often running through massive holes untouched. Dig into the tape and you’ll see him bouncing off would-be tacklers.
Weaknesses: Pass-blocking needs some work. Can catch the football, but doesn’t have a lot of experience doing so. Will likely have an adjustment period in the NFL as the running lanes won’t be as open as they were at Wisconsin.
Bears Outlook: Melvin Gordon would be a great longterm replacement for Matt Forte, but it’s unlikely they’ll take a running back seventh overall and it’s doubtful Gordon gets out of the first round. If the Bears end up adding picks by trading back, Gordon could be in play for them later in the first round, but even in that case, they have greater needs. That said, Forte not showing up to the voluntary offseason program is a developing story that bares watching.
More: Hoge’s Entire Bears Big Board
Adam Hoge covers the Chicago Bears for WGN Radio and WGNRadio.com. He also co-hosts The Beat, weekends on 720 WGN. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.