After trading up from pick 17 to pick 15, the Chargers selected Wisconsin’s running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon has already become a fan favorite without playing a single snap. You all know of the stats, of the record-breaking game he had against Nebraska and the LT comparison. He was a sensational back in college, showing great vision and unbelievable lateral movement coupled with great speed at the college level. He was the top running back on many people’s big boards, and a no-brainer pick for the Chargers at 17.
So what’s all the negativity about? Melvin Gordon has some flaws, just like 99% of the players in any draft class. But Gordon ran behind the best offensive line in college football a year ago, and didn’t have to do much work. Gordon is “very in love with the sidelines”, meaning he will, more times than not, try to use his speed and bounce out of a hole to get to the sidelines and outrun defenders. With a 4.52 40-yard speed, he might not be able to do that in the pros.
Gordon lost 6 fumbles in his last seven games while fumbling in 50% of his games played in 2014. His fumble problems got worse after beginning his collegiate career with one fumble in 2012, then four in 2013 and seven in 2014. That can only get worse while at the next level.
But did the Chargers really need to move up two spots to take him? San Diego swapped their first-round pick with San Francisco and traded their 2015 fourth-round selection and 2016 fifth-round pick to nab him. It wasn’t necessary to move up and lose more picks, for a team who lacks depth and is in a slight rebuild mode. The 49ers were still targeting Arik Armstead and the Texans have Arian Foster and Alfred Blue. There is a high chance Gordon would have still been there. This was one of the deepest RB classes the NFL has seen in recent years. The team could have been able to get impact starters (Duke Johnson, Jay Ajayi, Ameer Abdullah, TJ Yeldon, Tevin Coleman) in rounds two and three, while drafting BPA (best player available) at 17. This trade only really makes sense if the Bolts trade back and get more picks.
At the end of the day, the pick was fine. Gordon is a heck of a back and one who can be put in as the starter day one.
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In the eyes of a San Diego fan, the Charger’s 2013-2014 regular season schedule certainly provides both reasons to be excited as well as reasons for concern. With only two home games total between October and November, the Bolts must buckle down and try to alleviate the mid-season woes of the Norv Turner era and pick up some essential mid-season road wins. If the Bolts can make it through those two months with even a .500 record, there is reason to be thrilled about the final five games of the season in which four will take place at Qualcomm. The combination of Rivers’ phenomenal December record and the home crowd advantage should prove to result in a strong finish for the Bolts.
When looking at each match up and analyzing their potential implications, I am most intrigued by the first game of the season at home on Monday night against the Houston Texans. The Texans are coming off an AFC South Division title and impressive regular season record of 12-4. With a blowout loss in the divisional round of the playoffs at New England to end their Super Bowl dreams, the Texans will surely be out to prove that last year was not a fluke and that they can continue to be a force in the AFC.
The matchup against the Texans really grabs my attention for two reasons. The first reason revolves around the fact that the Chargers over the past three years, have not made the postseason or really had any wins against any championship caliber competition. A win against the likes of Houston would not only get the train out of the station, so to speak, but it surely would make many of the doubters realize that the Bolts truly do have the talent and core pieces in place to compete with anyone.
Furthermore, the second reason the week one Houston showdown is so interesting to me is that our preseason roster weaknesses are going to truly be put to the test. For starters, there have been many questions as to whether the remodeled secondary will be able to improve the less than impressive pass defense statistics from last season. The matchup of Derrick Cox on Andre Johnson and Shareece Wright on presumably explosive rookie DeAndre Hopkins will truly be a test of our secondary’s abilities. If we can contain Houston’s aerial attack, our top ten rushing defense should be able to contain Arian Foster enough to give our newly designed offense a chance to win the game. Moreover, our offensive line continues to be an area of concern even after changing four of the five starters from a season ago. What better way to gain confidence in our front five than if they could contain the likes of reigning defensive MVP J.J. Watt and the underrated Antonio Smith?
Overall, while it may be cliché to choose the first game of the season as the matchup I am most looking forward to, I honestly believe our performance in this game win or lose, will truly lay the foundation for the rest of the season and how we perform against other top teams in the league.
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