2015 Draft Prospect: Georgia RB Todd Gurley

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— It has become a rarity for a running back to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The last time that it happened was 2012. The fact that there is conversation about an injured running back being selected in the first round is a true testament to how outstanding of a prospect Todd Gurley is. Watching Gurley play is a real treat. If you blink, you might miss a run that is highlight worthy. He presents everything that you want in a running back.

Todd Gurley is the total package. He is a true three down player because he can be relied upon in pass protection, catching the ball out of the backfield and even on short yardage. Gurley has breakaway speed but also packs a real punch when he runs the ball. He can run between the tackles or bounce outside. Gurley also has the vision to cut it back and break off a long run.

Coming in and contributing as soon as he is healthy is a goal for Gurley. He feels very confident that being an early contributor is something that he can do. “I feel like I can come in and help a team. I have that confidence in myself.” Gurley continued; “I know the way I work and what type of back that I am. I will work as hard as possible to come back and be that guy when I come back. “

There isn’t a scheme that Gurley can’t fit into. While at Georgia, he ran in some single back sets as well as behind a fullback. Gurley gets his shoulders square as he attacks the line and shoots through the smallest gap with a high degree of acceleration. He knows how to pick his running lanes and make defenders miss or run them over if they happen to be able to fill his running lanes.

Catching the ball out of the backfield is something that Gurley does with ease. He was comfortable running the Texas route, running speed outs and in the screen game while at Georgia. It should be noted that Gurley does have ten inch hands. Georgia made it a point to try to get him the ball on screens numerous times in every game. Coordinators will make it a point to get him at least 25 touches per game at the next level.

Gurley has a muscular frame that is built for being an NFL running back. He is 6-1, 222 pounds and has the ability to hit top speed in a flash. His feet never stop moving and he has superb balance. That allows him to power through tackles even when multiple defenders have gotten their hands on him. Gurley has a Frank Gore like ability to get through the smallest of holes and emerging from the crowd for a big gain.

The power that he runs with makes it harder for lineman to reach out and tackle him with their arms as he runs through gaps. The balance that he has allows him to bounce off of hits and continue the run rather than fall to the ground.

The video below gives a good picture of how Gurley can be a home run threat from anywhere on the field. Georgia has the ball on their 49 yard line against Clemson. It’s the 4th quarter and Georgia is nursing a 17 point lead with 7:43 left on the clock. It is obviously a running situation.

Gurley gets the ball on the counter run. He takes the counter step which allows the fullback and lineman to synchronize their timing as they make it too the gap. Gurley has the patience to throttle

down slightly to allow the fullback and the pulling guard to get a hat on a defender. Gurley knows exactly when to accelerate through the hole and hits the turbo button at just the right time as he emerges from the crowd.

Video

2015 Draft Prospect: Georgia RB Todd Gurley

2015 Draft Prospect: Georgia RB Todd Gurley

Notice how he is able to keep his balance after one of the defensive players tried to trip him up. He regains his feet and outruns everyone to the end zone. Not even the safety that had an angle was able to catch Gurley because of his long speed.

Gurley is a shifty back but he will still lower the boom and run defenders over. It is very rare that Gurley goes down with the first contact. He consistently breaks tackles. Arm tackling a guy like Gurley is not going to work. He will run right through arm tackles. He has lower body strength that makes it almost a necessity to gang tackle him.

Draft Projection: 1st Round

Why should the Ravens consider this prospect?

The Ravens made it a point to talk about the importance of having a home run hitter when they discussed prospects at their annual draft luncheon. Gurley is a home run hitter for sure. Having a back that has the ability to cut a run back against the defense and outrun everyone always gives the offense a chance to score the football. Gurley has the vision to excel in the zone scheme and his patience will allow the needed gaps to develop.

With Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro on the roster, the Ravens certainly have the numbers to allow Gurley to not be rushed to action as he works to recover from his ACL injury. Taliaferro is slightly bigger than Gurley and was an option on short yardage plays. However, Gurley really runs behind his pads and would be an even better short yardage back. This will give him the opportunity to contribute quickly.

NFL Comparison: Steven Jackson

Jackson and Gurley are similar because it seems like they are running downhill every time they touch the ball. Both are able to break tackles and are rarely brought down by one player. Steven Jackson is bigger than Gurley but Gurley will bowl over defenders with just as much authority.

Catching the ball out of the backfield is something that both players can do as well. The St. Louis Rams used to throw the screen pass to Jackson to get him the ball in space with some blockers. That is precisely what NFL teams will do with Gurley.

Gurley is a shifty back but he will still lower the boom and run defenders over. It is very rare that Gurley goes down with the first contact. He consistently breaks tackles. Arm tackling a guy like Gurley is not going to work. He will run right through arm tackles. He has lower body strength that makes it almost a necessity to gang tackle him.

Draft Projection: 1st Round

Why should the Ravens consider this prospect?

The Ravens made it a point to talk about the importance of having a home run hitter when they discussed prospects at their annual draft luncheon. Gurley is a home run hitter for sure. Having a back that has the ability to cut a run back against the defense and outrun everyone always gives the offense a chance to score the football. Gurley has the vision to excel in the zone scheme and his patience will allow the needed gaps to develop.

With Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro on the roster, the Ravens certainly have the numbers to allow Gurley to not be rushed to action as he works to recover from his ACL injury. Taliaferro is slightly bigger than Gurley and was an option on short yardage plays. However, Gurley really runs behind his pads and would be an even better short yardage back. This will give him the opportunity to contribute quickly.

NFL Comparison: Steven Jackson

Jackson and Gurley are similar because it seems like they are running downhill every time they touch the ball. Both are able to break tackles and are rarely brought down by one player. Steven Jackson is bigger than Gurley but Gurley will bowl over defenders with just as much authority.

Catching the ball out of the backfield is something that both players can do as well. The St. Louis Rams used to throw the screen pass to Jackson to get him the ball in space with some blockers. That is precisely what NFL teams will do with Gurley.