Draft Profile: Todd Gurley (RB)
If Miami is interested in bolstering their offense, why not do it by adding a running back who could be the best player in the entire 2015 draft? Introducing the University of Georgia’s own, Todd Gurley.
RB- University of Georgia
Hurdler for Team USA in 2011
18 Career 100 yard games
44 Career TDs
6.44 yd/rush Over His Career
2012: AP First Team All-SEC, Coaches 2nd Team All-SEC (Freshman)
2013: AP & Coaches All-SEC 2nd Team
2014: 293 All-Purpose Yards, 4 TDs VS. Clemson
While his final season with the Bulldogs was plagued by injuries and issues regarding NCAA regulations, Todd Gurley has established himself as this year’s best running back. Gurley might not just be the best runner in this year’s class; he could be the best player at the position since Adrian Peterson entered the draft in 2007. The Miami Dolphins do not have a glaring need for a ball carrier, but it is hard to make a case against selecting potentially the best pure football player in this year’s entire draft.
Todd Gurley’s skill set made him an elite player since he first stepped on the field. Arriving at Georgia as a highly touted recruit, Gurley redefined the team’s identity, and helped the Bulldogs elevate their offensive attack. NFL offensive coordinators will love his power at the line of scrimmage, and ability to push through the line in short-yardage scenarios. In addition to having the power to make a difference in short yardage, Todd Gurley has the speed to make it into the second level and gash defenses for huge gains. Just as important as being able to reach the second level, Gurley excels at making defenders miss once he is there. Todd Gurley’s unique blend of speed and strength help make him one of the draft’s most promising players.
Two areas of play that are often overlooked for college running backs are pass protection and catching out of the backfield. Todd Gurley has excelled at both, making his potential in a pro style offense even greater. Georgia’s system allowed him to display his versatility and show scouts the multitude of ways that he can make an impact. Often, running backs are coddled and not asked to pass protect frequently in their college careers. NFL coaches will not shy away from tasking runners with protecting the quarterback, so Gurley’s experience in that area will help him greatly. Overall, Gurley’s versatility, power, and big play ability combine to make him one of the most compelling ball carriers in recent draft memory. It is highly uncommon to find a running back with good speed and strength, who can also pass protect and make plays catching the football. That is why Todd Gurley is so special: rare abilities make for rare players.
The vast majority of negatives usually cited regarding Todd Gurley are injury related. The concern stems from the torn ACL he suffered last September, causing him to miss the later portion of his senior season, as well as the combine and Georgia’s Pro Day. Gurley also missed part of the season due to an NCAA violation in which he was paid to sign memorabilia. Georgia took the lead on this issue and suspended him for a moderate amount of time before the NCAA had a chance to bring down the hammer, so his punishment could have been much worse. The autograph violation is not as much of a concern as his knee, which will probably cause him to start his NFL on the PuP list (most estimate he could return for the second half of the 2015 season). While a torn ACL is very serious, the prognosis is good for his recovery, with outstanding examples set recently by Adrian Peterson and Jamal Charles in terms of returning to old form. Look for whichever team drafts Gurley to be incredibly cautious in his return, as there is no reason to risk his longevity over an extra 5-8 games.
One knock on Todd Gurley’s play is a lack of elite vision. Sometimes Gurley would get stuck on a decision and miss an open cutback lane. His powerful running style often compensates for this,
allowing him to produce good gains even when choosing the wrong hole (as seen in the GIF on the right), but NFL coaches wont let missed opportunities slip by. This is also a product of less than optimal patience. If Gurley waited longer for the play to develop before choosing a lane, it would help him assess cutbacks and reads more consistently. Overall, Gurley’s issues on the field are minor and coachable, and once his knee is 100% recovered coaches will begin to correct these issues with the incoming rookie.
Todd Gurley is one of my favorite football players in this draft. Not only is he a favorite, but I believe he is actually the best all-around player. This draft class lacks any surefire options, but if it weren’t for his knee injury, Gurley would be in that elite category of prospects. With the signing of Greg Jennings, Miami no longer needs to go with a receiver in this first round (I am not saying they wont, but the need can now wait until rounds 2-3). This could put the team in position to select the best player available, which could very well be Todd Gurley at pick 14. When healthy, Gurley has as much ability as any running back in the NFL, and could be a difference maker in any offense. The Miami Dolphins need to elevate their offensive play, and complimenting Lamar Miller with a more powerful and efficient runner could be exactly what Bill Lazor needs to help take his group to the next level in 2015.
This is The Deep End’s last 2015 Pre-Draft Profile. After the draft, a similar post will be done for each player the Miami Dolphins select. In the mean time, here are some of The Deep End’s other scouting reports, just to get you through to next week: