Melvin Gordon made only 22 career receptions at Wisconsin, but the Chargers running back has steadily improved as a pass catcher in his three NFL seasons.
His targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns have gone up each season.
Gordon’s role could expand even more this season with the loss of tight end Hunter Henry to a season-ending right knee injury.
“We can do some different things because Melvin has become such a good receiver out of the backfield,” Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said, via Eric D. Williams of ESPN. “And that’s not something that you saw from him in college. Not that he couldn’t do it; they just didn’t throw him the ball. He was too busy running for 8 million yards or whatever it was he was running for.”
One of Gordon’s goals this offseason was to improve his receiving skills. Since the Chargers made him a first-round pick in 2015, Gordon has spent time learning from and watching LaDainian Tomlinson, who made 624 catches for 4,772 yards and 17 touchdowns in his Hall of Fame career with the Chargers.
“In the passing game, just as far as the expansion of the routes, just in that direction,” Gordon said. “It will come. I know Whiz [Whisenhunt] draws up things here and there depending on what he sees from a defense, but Phil’s [Philip Rivers] going to get you the ball regardless, so I’m not really too pressed about it. We’ll be fine in that area.”