If you told me Todd Gurley was the most gifted rusher of the last few years, I honestly couldn’t disagree with you.
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Standing at a touch over 6 foot and weighing in the 225 lbs range, Gurley’s body type is similar to how you want all your running backs to look. He has good bulk without it sacrificing his more-than-adequate speed. His hands are great and I’m sure you can motion him out to WR and he will impact from that spot a few times a game also. His production has been terrific, exiting college with 6.4 YPC and 42 total touchdowns in 3 years despite playing in the SEC.
But despite all that, I don’t expect the Atlanta Falcons to be considering Gurley in the first round at #8. I wouldn’t advise it even if he falls to the 2nd round pick, and the reason for that is injuries.
It’s goes beyond the recent ACL tear, which is serious in itself. Gurley has suffered, and played through, many injuries in his time at Georgia. It was believed he played his entire sophomore season banged up after getting hurt on his 1st carry in week 1. He wasn’t even 100% for the following spring practices in March. While it is admirable he is willing to fight through injuries, it still lessens his impact and reliability which will only be further magnified in the NFL.
While it is admirable he is willing to fight through injuries, it still lessens his impact and reliability which will only be further magnified in the NFL.
Knocks and niggles have affected Gurley throughout his college career and it accumulated with the dreadful torn ACL. How he recovers is anyone’s guess. He could be back to his old self or he might be the shadow of the player he once was. Whatever may be, it wasn’t the ACL tear that shied me away from him. Gurley is genuinely injury prone.
Usually I only drop players for injury if they are chronic or non-healing or if they’re a result of a player remaining out of shape. This is not the case with Gurley. Rather, it’s his running style which doubles as a penchant for big hits.
Peterson is a rare breed who has great foot quickness and seemingly 360 degree vision to elude dangerous hits. I don’t see that with Gurley.
Gurley runs upright which gives defenders a large striking area to hit. Couple that with long strides and the potential for lower body injuries increases dramatically. DeMarco Murray has a similar upright style with a long gait and he also has struggled with injuries in his young career. People may point towards Adrian Peterson who has remained relatively durable, but Peterson is a rare breed who has great foot quickness and seemingly 360 degree vision to elude dangerous hits. I don’t see that with Gurley.
Jan 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) celebrates his touchdown run during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
It is possible Gurley does have lady luck shine on him and enjoys a full and terrific season just like DeMarco Murray did as he ran for over 1800 yards. Gurley is a better talent than Murray so it’s not wild to think he doesn’t have that sort of production in him also. However, that also relies on him checking out fine after his ACL tear and going back to the guy he was while reinventing his style a little.
There’s a lot of ifs and for me, too many to take in the first 2 rounds when I know I can get another good player who may not present the upside Gurley does but can give me plenty of quality snaps. I felt the same way with the ultra-talented Jadeveon Clowney who I’m sure will give you great play when healthy but had trouble staying away from injuries. My argument for Jake Matthews, Greg Robinson or Khalil Mack over Clowney was: Would you prefer an 8/10 guy who plays 100% of the starter snaps or a 10/10 guy that will only play 60% of them. That argument also applies here.
Don’t get me wrong, Gurley is magnificent. I just think the Atlanta Falcons can’t invest into the uncertain product he is.