The New York Jets signed offensive lineman Vitaliy Gurman to their practice squad a few weeks ago and then to a futures deal after the season. Today we’re going to break Gurman down in detail.
The 25-year old Gurman is listed at 6’4” and 310 pounds. He went undrafted out of Toledo in 2022. He has yet to make his NFL debut and the Jets are his fourth NFL team.
Gurman was not a highly regarded high school recruit and eventually went to Division 2 Edinboro, where he redshirted the 2016 season.
In 2017 and 2018, Gurman missed just one start at center, then moved to left tackle in 2019. In all, he started 32 games.
In 2020, Gurman transferred to Toledo, where he started all six games at left tackle in the Covid-shortened season. In 2021, he started the first half of the season at left guard, then moved back to left tackle for the second half of the season.
Gurman wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine, and he was not expected to be drafted in 2022, but he got signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after also having been invited to Pittsburgh Steelers rookie camp.
Gurman attended camp with the Chiefs and played in three preseason games for them before being released in final cuts. The Raiders signed him to their practice squad a few days later, but he spent most of the year on the injured list.
Having signed a futures deal, Gurman attended training camp with the Las Vegas Raiders this year and again played in three preseason games. They initially had him on their practice squad, but they released him less than a week later. He also spent three weeks on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad before the Jets picked him up late in the season.
Now let’s take a look at what Gurman brings to the table, divided into categories.
Gurman has a powerful frame, but short arms, which will limit his positional flexibility at the NFL level. He has good strength, as he racked up 33 bench press reps at his pro day.
His agility and explosiveness numbers were solid, but he only ran 5.36 in the 40-yard dash and doesn’t look like an elite athlete on film.
Gurman started at center, left guard and left tackle in college, but has exclusively played as a guard in preseason action, on both sides of the formation.
His short arms probably mean that he’s not a good fit to play at the tackle position at the NFL level.
Gurman’s pressure rates were solid in college, and he went from allowing three sacks in 2020 to only allowing one in 2021.
He’s strong and battles in the trenches, but he can have problems staying in front of speed rushers.
He is able to re-anchor against bull rushes but can be moved off his spot initially to collapse the pocket. (Gurman wore #78 at Toledo).
In his limited preseason action, Gurman didn’t give up any sacks but he did allow a few pressures.
Gurman was an effective run blocker at Toledo, although his grades were not as good in his second season, as he was adjusting to playing at guard. He improved once he moved back to tackle.
Gurman’s most impressive trait is his ability to drive his man back at the point of attack, although when he does, he often lunges forwards and overextends to ultimately lose control of his man.
He is also adept at pulling and latching onto a target to seal them off and create running lanes. (Gurman wore #76 with the Chiefs).
Gurman can be effective at getting out to the second level so he can find and take out a target in space.
He has good lateral movement and, when on the move, he has a good understanding of angles and a good ability to square up to and lock onto his man.
Gurman should be a good option to run behind in short yardage situations with his ability to get some initial traction. However, he can be stood up at the point of attack at times.
Both at the college level and in preseason action, Gurman has shown a good ability to leak out in front of a screen, and will keep hustling downfield even if he doesn’t immediately find a target.
Gurman’s technique needs some refining but he has active hands and a good understanding of leverage, making use of his good upper body strength. (Gurman wore #73 with the Raiders).
In pass protection, Gurman’s balance can be an issue, which affects his ability to react to inside counters.
Gurman only has one penalty in preseason action, which was a false start on fourth down in the red zone.
In college, he had five penalties in six games in 2020 and eight more in 2021, so his on-field discipline may be an area where he needs to improve.
In preseason action, Gurman’s only special teams reps have been as a blocker on the placekicking unit, but he also blocked in punt protection at Toledo, and he had one missed tackle in coverage.
Most of the sacks Gurman gave up in college were attributable to him being slow to pick up a blitz or missing his assignment altogether.
He had mixed results when picking up stunts or as the spare man giving help to his teammates.
In the running game, he shows an ability to peel off his initial assignment and find someone else to block.
He was a good student who was a scholar-athlete, academic all-American nominee and early graduate at Edinboro.
Gurman made a name for himself with the Chiefs by being the first player out on the practice field every day.
He’s a player who has displayed versatility and a team-first attitude by playing multiple roles. He was also a team captain in high school.
Gurman wasn’t affected by injuries during his college career, but he spent most of the 2022 NFL season on the practice squad injured reserve list. He was placed on the list before the season opener with an undisclosed injury and then restored to the practice squad in December.
Although he’s not the kind of elite athlete the Jets have often targeted for their offense, Gurman displays an ability to block on the move and good flexibility.
His best NFL position is probably at guard because he lacks the wingspan to play tackle and is perhaps a little tall and upright for the center position.
Gurman was a teammate of fellow Jet Chris Glaser in Kansas City and free agent Javelin Guidry in Las Vegas.
Gurman isn’t a high profile player. In fact, he’s the only Jets player at the time of writing who doesn’t have a wikipedia page.
Nevertheless, he’s shown enough potential for three other teams to bring him in for a look, and he has put some positive plays on film in preseason action.
He seems like a player with good character who will work hard in camp and push for a practice squad spot, but he may lack the upside to be considered a potential starter or long-term contributor.