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ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Arizona Cardinals choosing RB in latest mock draft

Much of the offseason talk about what the Arizona Cardinals need to acquire personnel-wise has centered around the running back position.

In the last week, the Cardinals have been linked to veteran running backs Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray and C.J. Spiller in separate rumors.

Head coach Bruce Arians even said on a television interview that his team had no interest in acquiring LeSean McCoy, who was traded by Philadelphia to Buffalo earlier this week.

Mel Kiper, the foremost NFL Draft expert in the country, thinks the Cardinals will address their running back spot, but not through free agency or a trade.

Kiper has Arizona selecting All-American RB Melvin Gordon with the 24th pick in his latest mock draft, which was released Thursday.

A healthy Andre Ellington gives Arizona some explosiveness out of the backfield, but he’s not a player you want to rely on for too many touches, and a good running game will go a long way in Arizona. Gordon has the explosiveness that you need from an RB taken this high — he’s a true game-breaker — but he’s also proved durable. Linebacker is another big need for Arizona, but that’s one the team can hit further down the board. If Gordon seems like a luxury pick, the Cardinals could certainly argue he’s an immediate-impact player for a team that wants to win.

Kiper’s point on Gordon’s durability is a valid one. Gordon ran the ball 549 times over the last two seasons for the Badgers. He did run for 4,196 yards on those carries, scoring 41 touchdowns in the process.

Gordon’s 4,915 career rushing yards rank 26th in college football history.

Kiper had the Cardinals selecting cornerback Jalen Collins of Florida in his last mock draft, which was released last month.

Check out all the latest projections in Arizona Sports’ Mock Draft Tracker.