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Scouting The Draft: Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia

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A peek into the spectacular runner

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Get off me!
Get off me!
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

The Jets right now are in a state of relative flux at the running back position. Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory were, respectively, slightly above and slightly below the league average for yards per carry. Chris Johnson was arrested on a misdemeanor weapons charge earlier this offseason and carries a 5 million dollar cap charge for next season. The smart money is on the Jets cutting him to save over 3 and a half million on the cap. Bilal Powell is a free agent and is unsure to return. Chris Ivory wore down over the course of the season as he had the highest usage of his career. He doesn't seem to fit the bill as a #1 RB and is best utilized in limited usage. It's well within the realm of possibility that the Jets look to the draft to find a set of legs, possibly ones that can be their starting running back.

Todd Gurley was a 4 star prospect out of Tarboro High School in Tarboro, North Carolina. He chose to go to Georgia over NC State, North Carolina, and Clemson. Gurley burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2012 and set the SEC on fire with nearly 1400 yards as a true freshman. He has followed up his incredible freshman year with incredible sophomore and junior seasons. Almost every time this guy has been on the field, he's been absolutely electric for Georgia. Unfortunately, he's had his fair share of maladies too, as injuries in his sophomore and junior year as well as a junior year suspension prevented Gurley from reaching 1000 yards in either of his final two years, and an ACL injury will prevent Gurley from meaningful offseason workouts and training camp reps. Gurley could have returned to Georgia to try to rebuild some of his stock but decided to forego his eligibility and turn pro.

Measurables

Height: 6-1

Weight: 226 lbs

Projected 40: 4.5

Stats

Year Carries Yards Average TD Receptions Yards Average TD
2014 123 911 7.4 9 12 57 4.8 0
2013 165 989 6.0 10 37 441 11.9 6
2012 222 1,385 6.2 17 16 117 7.3 0

Pros

+ Great size with a thick frame and a strong base

+ Runs with great strength and power

+ Explosive burst through the hole

+ Runs well in tight quarters, very adept at squeezing through small spaces for such a big guy

+ Good top end speed, not elite but more than enough to take long runs to the house

+ Pinballs off of tacklers in the open field

+ Elusive and very tough to bring down with good footwork

+ Soft hands and is a receiving threat out of the backfield

+ A true every down back

+ Played at the highest level against the toughest collegiate competition in the SEC

+ Good vision and finds cutback lanes very well

+ Great balance

+ Always falls forward and finishes runs, getting that extra yard or two, but is not often hit squarely

+ Ball security not an issue- only 3 fumbles in his college career, 2 lost.

+ It has been said that he's a high quality kid with great character who works hard and loves the game. Suspension was more based upon stupid NCAA dictatorship nonsense.

+ Has 2 career kick return touchdowns in just 11 career returns

Cons

- Durability is a concern after missing 4 games as a sophomore and tearing his ACL as a junior

- Will be playing catch up for any team that drafts him because he will miss a large part of camp and maybe preseason as well, so he'll miss out on reps

- Runs a tad upright

- Could stand to improve as a route runner and pass blocker

- Ummm... his name is Todd. No offense to anyone here named Todd, but I just hate that name.

Conclusion

In my humble opinion, whatever that may mean, Gurley is the best RB to hit the draft since Adrian Peterson. He's truly a rarity in today's game as a back who can play every down in all situations.  He's big and strong enough to deliver punishment and push piles, fast and elusive enough to make big plays in the open field, smart and bright enough to pick out holes and sift through the muck, a good enough pass receiver to stay on the field on 3rd downs (and his pass blocking will come around, all backs in the draft struggle in this aspect), and talented and hard-working enough to be one of the very best backs in the league for a long time.

Under normal circumstances, Gurley probably winds up being taken in the top 10. I think he has a legitimate claim to being a top 4 player in the draft. If healthy, for me, he would only be behind the 2 QBs and USC DL Leonard Williams. The ACL tear however throws a monkey wrench into his draft stock. He's going to be hard to peg. However, whereas if healthy I would peg him as a potential target at #6, I think he's off the table there. There has been some hope among the fan bases of teams drafting early that he'll slide into the 2nd round. I frankly find that to be a dubious proposition. I think a really good team that can afford to be patient with their first round team is going to take a chance on him. He's simply too talented to bank on sliding into the second. I could see a team like New England, Dallas, Detroit, or even Seattle taking a shot on Gurley at the end of the round. If Gurley does happen to be available in the 2nd round, the draft card would be turned in as quickly as the name Todd Gurley can be written down and handed to the commissioner. The bigger question may be if the Jets would consider trading up back into the first to nab Gurley. That's a tough proposition. It always depends on the cost, but if the docs clear Gurley and say he's going to make a full recovery, it would be a major consideration. Gurley has the ability to be not just a star, but a superstar.

The most sickening part? Georgia may have an even BETTER back taking over in Nick Chubb. Good luck SEC.

Highlights!

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