2015 NFL Draft: Most Likely First Round Landing Spots for Melvin Gordon

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San Diego Chargers: Round 1, pick 17

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is carted off the field during the fourth quarter after a leg injury against the Seattle Seahawks. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The highest I see Melvin Gordon hearing his name called is at pick 17 overall to the San Diego Chargers.

The Chargers represent an interesting situation. Three running backs carried the ball at least 70 times for the Chargers last season, and two more saw significant time.

Undrafted rookie free agent Branden Oliver led the team in both carries and yards, and by the end of the season was the featured back.

That was, in part, due to injuries to both Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown, who each missed significant time. Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead had minor roles, but the running back situation was truly a mess last year.

Danny Woodhead would be a versatile back to pair with Melvin Gordon. Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

With Mathews a risky free agent to resign because of his storied injury problems, the Chargers may be looking to move on from the back, and the draft is likely the direction they’d go.

Gordon would be an ideal fit because his weakness – receiving – is handled by Woodhead, who is one of the better receiving and third down backs in the league. Gordon would be an ideal compliment and wouldn’t be relied upon to be the workhorse, as the Chargers have a full stable of adequate running backs with Donald and Ronnie Brown on roster.

In Mel Kiper Jr.’s Mock Draft 2.0 (Subscription required), the ESPN analyst projects Gordon to the Chargers. He calls Gordon a “home run threat” and a “weapon to take the pressure off Philip Rivers.”

The Chargers would give Gordon the chance to grow into his role as a featured NFL back.

Next: Detroit Lions: Round 1, pick 23