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Chargers move up 2 spots to draft running back Melvin Gordon

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — General manager Tom Telesco wasn't concerned about the price it cost for the San Diego Chargers to move up two spots in the NFL draft Thursday night to take Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.

"We needed impact players and we got an impact player," Telesco said.

The Chargers sent their first- and fourth-round picks this year and fifth-round pick next year to the San Francisco 49ers to move up to No. 15.

"We felt we had to go up and get him," Telesco said. "We're thrilled about him. He's an electric, exciting football player. He's going to be a really big boost for our offense."

That offense will continue to have Philip Rivers as its quarterback.

A rumored trade of Rivers to Tennessee, which would have allowed the Chargers to take Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon with the second pick, didn't materialize.

Rivers, San Diego's starter since 2006, has said that with so much uncertainty surrounding the team's possible move to the Los Angeles area in 2016, he's likely to play out his current contract, which expires after this season, rather than agreeing to an extension.

San Diego needed a bruising back to help take the pressure off Rivers, and they got it in Gordon. He set the FBS record for career rushing average with 7.79 yards per carry.

He replaces Ryan Mathews, who left for Philadelphia as a free agent after a spotty five seasons in San Diego.

San Diego's running game was one of the most anemic in the league last year. The Chargers scored only six touchdowns on the ground, three by Mathews.

Gordon rushed for 2,587 yards last season, second-most in FBS history behind Barry Sanders' 2,628 yards in 1988, and had 32 touchdowns, 29 rushing.

He also set the single-game rushing record with 408 yards in just three quarters against Nebraska on Nov. 15, edging the old mark of 406 held by former Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson since 1999. The record fell the next week when Oklahoma's Samaje Perine ran for 427 yards against Kansas.

Telesco said Gordon has "home run ability."

When Todd Gurley went to the St. Louis Rams with the 10th pick, Telesco said he knew he needed to make a move to get Gordon, "a guy who can break games open, which we didn't have and now we have one."

The Chargers finished 9-7 last year, their second straight third-place finish, and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons.

"I had a feeling they would take me at 17. I didn't know they were going to trade up," Gordon said. "They made it happen. They moved up the charts to come and get me.

"I was just excited and happy that somebody took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity to help make the team better," he said. "I'm ready to come in and compete. It's a chance to play."


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