Todd Gurley has been making headlines recently, as experts predicted he will be a top ten draft pick. While that seems quite high for a running back, he may have the talent to overcome his injury concerns and position and has found himself a top ten pick. Can he change the landscape of St. Louis?
Todd Gurley has been quite impressive when on the field at Georgia. He's put up fantastic numbers in a very tough conference in the SEC, and when on the field has been quite consistent with his performances. He, unlike the other top back in this class Melvin Gordon, has the power running game, and can truck through defenders to break tackles. He is closer to a Marshawn Lynch type of back, and some experts have compared him to Lynch. While we don't have an exact forty time due to him not participating in the combine, he looks to be fast enough to win a race against a defensive back, and should be quick enough to get around linebackers who may be blitzing. Gurley also has been of assistance in pass protection as well, and would not be a liability on third down passing plays.
The biggest concern with Gurley is durability. Not only are some claiming he may not be ready to compete in training camp, he has an injury history, and at the running back position where the shelf life is already dwindled down before injuries, having so many significant injuries before he turned pro could cause teams in the top ten especially to shy away from a long term commitment. He may be the next Adrian Peterson type of back, where he can do it all, however the chance for injury is always there, and should the worst happen, it could cost his team that season. The thing that may hurt Gurley's draft stock quite a bit in the first round is the depth of the running back position in this year’s draft class. There are many late round steals available at the RB position on days two and three, including VAVEL USA's consensus sleeper of the year Jeremy Langford from Michigan State. Between the two negatives on Gurley, he could be free-falling down draft boards.
Overall, Gurley is a very solid prospect, however he needs to remain healthy as a professional to prolong early retirement as long as he can. He has the talent level to produce at a top five running back level, and could rival many of the games top backs in recent years when he can stay healthy.
St. Louis is getting the best running back in this years draft, and with Gurley going early, Melvin Gordon's value is sure to rise as well. The last time a running back was selected as high as Gurley was when the Cleveland Browns took Trent Richardson. The Rams are hoping they get someone better than that, and it seems as though they will be.