Todd Gurley is a mix of two former Atlanta Falcons running backs
The Atlanta Falcons don’t just want Todd Gurley to be a force coming out of the backfield but they need him to.
And for good reason, the one undeniable question about the former Georgia Bulldog and Los Angeles Ram is his health. Todd Gurley’s knee has been written about more than any player’s body part in recent memory but who are the Atlanta Falcons really getting in the running back?
The good news, Todd Gurley is still young. He’s just 25 and has already secured two offensive players of the year awards, three pro bowls, and two selections on All-Pro teams. He’s been in the league for five years and has also made a trip to the Super Bowl. There’s no question that he’s talented and poses a major problem for defenses across the league.
But which former Atlanta Falcons free agent back does Todd Gurley resemble the most — Michael Turner or Steven Jackson?
Well, he’s a good mix of the two. The striking similarity with Jackson is the size and running style. Oh, and each player was signed after playing all their games for the Rams, whether St. Louis or Los Angeles. That’s the low hanging fruit in the situation. But Jackson is a 6’2”, 240 pounds running back. Todd Gurley is 6’1” and 224. Those are two bruising running backs.
Todd Gurley could be the best of both worlds for the Atlanta Falcons
But by the time the Falcons got to Jackson he had amassed more than 10,000 yards and nearly 2,400 carries. That’s a lot of wear and tear to have expected him to make a serious difference in the offense. That could also explain why after two years, Jackson was out of Atlanta and a year after that, out of the league.
Enter Michael Turner.
In four years for the then-San Diego Chargers, Turner carried the rock just 228 times for about 1,250 yards. He was fresh and would you look at that, only 25-years-old. The Burner was much smaller but he was like a bowling ball. He also gave Matt Ryan a steadying presence in the backfield for his rookie year and had an immediate, game-changing impact.
Todd Gurley is right in between both backs. He’s young like Turner was but has been used a lot more. Having carried the ball about 1,260 times and for more than 5,000 yards. Though not quite Steven Jackson‘s carry levels, there is a lot more wear and tear on his body than Turner when he arrived in Atlanta.
It would be foolish to expect Gurley to have the same type of impact Turner did. For one, the league has shifted to a running back by committee style, and second, Matt Ryan does need him as much.
The Falcons are a pass-happy and pass first team and can you blame them when you have invested hundreds of millions into just two players — Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. They have to be.
The Atlanta Falcons just need a threat coming out of the backfield which Devonta Freeman no longer was. If Gurley can do that, and make the most of his touches, the Falcons will have found their perfect landing spot between Jackson and Turner. And anything else will be a bonus.