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Los Angeles Chargers gain a year of team control with Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is now under team control through the 2019 NFL season. Gordon, a first-round pick in 2015 by the Chargers out of Wisconsin, has been a key player in the offense. The Chargers exercised their fifth-year option on the running back. Picking up that option was the logical move and one that Los Angeles intended to do this offseason.

If there’s one word to describe Melvin Gordon after three seasons with the Chargers, it would be a workhorse. He finished seventh in the NFL with 1,105 rushing yards last season. Gordon also scored eight times in 2017 on 284 carries. Those touches were up by 30 compared to his 2016 campaign where he rushed for 997 yards. A better run blocking offensive line would help Gordon possibly become one of the top rushers in the NFL. He’s never averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry and that’s something the Chargers have to work out this summer. Give him some better blockers and watch his value takeoff.

Melvin Gordon Chargers

Melvin Gordon has rushed for 2,743 yards and 18 touchdowns in his three-year NFL career with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Los Angeles also uses Gordon in the passing game and he’s fairly efficient. He caught 58 passes for 476 yards last season and added four touchdowns to Phillip Rivers’ touchdown total. With similar receiving numbers in 2016, Gordon has the potential to be a dual-threat for the Chargers out of the backfield. He needs to work on taking advantage of his opportunities though. Rivers targeted him 83 times and Gordon hauled in the catch 69 percent of the time. If he can bring that up to around 80 percent, watch the Chargers offense explode even more.

After drafting Justin Jackson in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, the Chargers are investing more into their running game. Jackson lost a lot of draft stock but he was the top rusher in the Big Ten two years ago. Austin Ekeler showed signs of being a solid backup behind Gordon, rushing for 260 yards on just 47 carries. Jackson nor Ekeler will take the starting job away from Gordon, but they will add depth to the position. They can give him a breather which would keep him fresh and able to make big plays late in the game.

Look for the LA Chargers to remain as one of the most productive offenses in the NFL behind Melvin Gordon. Adding an extra year helps the team focus on weaknesses rather than focusing on resigning Gordon after this year. He’s a versatile back that will have a great NFL career. While this was a likely move for the Chargers, it shows that one could expect big things to come out of Los Angeles. Possibly as soon as the 2018 NFL season.