(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.)
Height/Weight:6-0 / 222
Honors: The 2014 Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman Trophy runner-up, Gordon became the Big Ten all-time leading rusher in a single season with 2,587 yards (second in FBS history) and became the fastest player ever to reach 2,000 yards in a season, hitting the milestone in just 241 carries.
Key stat:For just one week, Gordon held the NCAA's single-game rushing record with 408 yards against Nebraska. Gordon racked up most of his yards that day in just three quarters. Gordon broke TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson's record of 406 yards, set in 1999. But just a week after thrashing Nebraska, Gordon saw his record fall when Oklahoma's Samaje Perine went for 427 yards against Kansas.
Where He's Projected:Gordon is projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick. The last two years, running backs have escaped the first round but Georgia's Todd Gurley is expected to go in the top half of the first round. Gordon could also hear his name called on the first night but it's very possible he's around when the Cowboys get on the clock at No. 27.
How He Helps the Cowboys:He's a game-breaking back that can take advantage of a dominant offensive line. The Cowboys signed Darren McFadden in free agency to partially replace DeMarco Murray but still need a front-line back to handle the bulk of the load. Gordon can be that guy but he's had to wait his turn at Wisconsin, so splitting carries wouldn't be new. Gordon still needs to develop more as a blocker and pass-catcher, which is why he likely wouldn't be ready to be an every-down back. But from an explosive standpoint, he's as good as any back, and any player in this draft.
Scout's Take: One back runner that when he does run behind a blocker it is an "H-Back". Has the vision to see holes. Can get out of tight spots. Not sure he really has home-run speed. Will usually take a slide step-then start to the ball. Minnesota put ten players in the box and he was still able to make positive runs. Will bounce off tacklers and keep his legs moving. Shows the ability to plant and change direction. Can run thru tacklers. Has a feel for how to follow blocks. Has some start-stop quickness and lateral agility. Plays with balance. Nice lateral agility and body control. Will lower his shoulder and try to finish the run. Shows patience to allow the block to develop then attack the hole. Plays with vision. Can be a creative player with the ball in his hands. Showed good hands to catch swings and screens. Shows moves in the open field. Was used as a chip blocker on the edge. Aware of whom his man is. Not very stout to take on. Technique is poor. Will throw shoulder in there more than hit square. Will cut block off the edge at times. Much better in the Purdue game where he picked up a blitzer square. If he has a big time fault it is that he will put the ball on the ground. Had some fumbles in some key spots during the season. Had seven of them during the season. Could tell that defenders were always trying to rip it away from him. Offensive line at Wisconsin did a nice job of taking care of him with blocking. Didn't have many games where he really struggled. Could be the first back off the board for teams if they don't like the medical information on Todd Gurley. –Bryan Broaddus
-- Other Possible Picks --
Bryce Petty - QB - Baylor
Carl Davis - DT - Iowa
Eric Kendricks - LB - UCLA
Todd Gurley - RB - Georgia
Owamagbe Odighizuwa - DE - UCLA
Shaq Thompson - LB - Washington
Jalen Collins - CB - LSU
Devin Smith - WR - Ohio State