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2015 NFL Mock Draft: Melvin Gordon finds a home with Ravens

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The former Badger goes to one of the more consistently successful NFL franchises.

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens' roster looks drastically different now than it did just two years ago when they won the Super Bowl. Since the 2012 season, they have lost Ed Reed to free agency, Haloti Ngata and Anquan Boldin to trades, and Ray Lewis to retirement. Plus, there's the Ray Rice domestic violence saga which resulted in his eventual release.

While the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome do an admirable job of plugging holes before they are actually vacated, Baltimore still has needs at multiple positions as the 2015 NFL Draft approaches. Playing the role of Newsome, I have made my pick with the 26th selection in the APC Mock Draft, and it is...

Melvin Gordon III, running back, Wisconsin

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215 pounds
Combine 40: 4.52 seconds

Sure, Justin Forsett had a great season in 2014, and he earned a three-year, $9 million deal as a result of his 1,200-yard performance. However, Forsett had never before started more than five games or carried the ball more than 120 times in a single season, and he spent each of the past four years on different teams. He's a nice enough back, but he's not a game-changer.

Enter MGIII, who posted one of the most impressive individual rushing performances in college football history a year ago. Though he played behind the Wisconsin Badgers' vaunted offensive line, Gordon's performance in 2014 was hardly due to his line alone. In fact, he had a top-six elusiveness rating in all of FBS a year ago, according to Pro Football Focus, a sign that he was shaking tacklers regardless of his line's help. Gordon is a ridiculous big-play threat as well, using his elite quickness and balance in the open field to avoid tacklers.

Where Gordon is perceived to struggle is in the passing game (despite showing good hands and decent pass blocking chops in his senior season). If that's a concern for the Ravens, Forsett can act as the third-down back as those are areas in which he excels.

Pick Team Player Position School
1 TB Jameis Winston QB Florida State
2 TEN Leonard Williams DT USC
3 JAX Amari Cooper WR Alabama
4 OAK Randy Gregory OLB/DE Nebraska
5 WAS Dante Fowler, Jr. OLB Florida
6 NYJ Marcus Mariota QB Oregon
7 CHI Vic Beasley OLB Clemson
8 ATL Brandon Scherff OT Iowa
9 NYG Kevin White WR West Virginia
10 STL La'el Collins OT LSU
11 MIN DeVante Parker WR Louisville
12 CLE Danny Shelton DT Washington
13 NO Trae Waynes CB Michigan State
14 MIA Marcus Peters CB Washington
15 SF Malcom Brown DT Texas
16 HOU Landon Collins S Alabama
17 SD T.J. Clemmings OL Pittsburgh
18 KC Andrus Peat OT Stanford
19 CLE (from BUF) Ereck Flowers OT Miami (FL)
20 PHI Jaelen Strong WR Arizona State
21 CIN D.J. Humphries OT Florida
22 PIT Dorial Green-Beckham WR Missouri
23 DET Todd Gurley RB Georgia
24 ARI Jordan Phillips DT Oklahoma
25 CAR Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
26 BAL Melvin Gordon III RB Wisconsin
27 DAL