Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running backTodd Gurley
(3) runs in the first quarter of their game against the Auburn Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Time to look at another young hopeful that could find their way into a Jets uniform.
The Jets are not done at the running back position. They have improved at wide receiver, cornerback, safety, offensive line, and arguably at quarterback. A lot of progress has been made with the Jets roster. But, the same cannot be said for one position, running back.
The Jets did not ask Chris Johnson back, letting him go after only one season in the Green and White. The rumors were strong that the team was going to sign C.J. Spiller to fill his spot, but Spiller went to the Saints. Bilal Powell was resigned, but there is still a hole at the position.
This afternoon, we are looking at a guy considered one of the best, and some say the best, running back in the draft. Brian Baldinger even mocked this guy to the Jets at number six.
This morning, we are looking at Georgia running back Todd Gurley.
Next: College Career
Oct 4, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) runs past Vanderbilt Commodores linebackerDarreon Herring
(35) during the first quarter at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
As always, we look back at the college career to get things going. Let’s take a look at Todd Gurley’s stats from his time in Georgia:
Rushing & Receiving
Unfortunately, Gurley’s 2014 season was limited by an ACL tear, although he did finish with quite the high yards per carry average. 7.4 was the best of his college career. Gurley can catch the ball out of the backfield, as indicated above, but it wasn’t consistent. He had a great year in 2013, but was limited in the receiving game in 2012 and 2014.
I am not going to hold his suspension against him, as he was investigated for allegations related to receiving money for autographs, or memorabilia, and related services. You could make the argument that college players SHOULD be paid for these services, so we will leave that part alone. His ankle injury in 2013, and his ACL in 2014 do make Gurley an injury concern.
But, in three years at Georgia, Todd Gurley was an overall productive player.
That’s the bottom line of the stats above.
Next: NFL Combine
Feb 19, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Georgia running back Todd Gurley speaks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s look at how Todd Gurley looked at the NFL Combine.
He measured at 6’1″, 222 pounds. He only participated in the Bench Press, posting 17 reps. Here are his strengths and weaknesses from his NFL profile:
STRENGTHS: Rare blend of speed and power. Immense power in legs and shows balance through contact. Shreds arm tackles and has speed to house it. Very hard to tackle on an angle. Professional, decisive runner. Presses line of scrimmage to set up his cut-back runs. Gets downhill with knee bend and forward lean, staying small through the hole. Uses quick, tight steps to second level. Will sink and explode into tackler or side-step and jet, causing hesitation in downhill safeties with their approach. Converts “speed to power” between tackles and around corner. Rarely looks to run out of bounds and finishes his runs. Able to factor out of the backfield with soft hands and ability to adjust to throws. In 2014, churned out an amazing 61.9 percent of his rushing yardage after contact. Strong hands and carries ball tight to his body. Only three fumbles in 510 carries.
WEAKNESSES: Missed three games in 2013 due to ankle injury and tore his ACL in 2014. Questions about whether he’ll return back to his play speed are a big concern. Vision is average. Still gaining feel as a zone runner. Too locked into looking for cutback lanes when play-side run is open. Can get better at setting up blockers in space. Average creativity in tight quarters. Patience and tempo as a runner can improve. Quick passing attack limited his protection opportunities but was very average when given the shot.
Next: Film and Final Thoughts
The NFL.com profile compares Gurley to Marshawn Lynch. His style of running is similar. The way Gurley can gain yards after first contact is extraordinary. He has a great center of gravity, can break tackles, and make people miss. These are good qualities for an NFL running back to have.
On tape, there isn’t much to dislike. In the rare play on the tape where Gurley was involved in the passing game, he didn’t look great. One screen pass went nowhere, but that was because the quarterback got him the ball a bit early, before the wall could set up in front of him. But, it wasn’t a play that would make Todd Gurley jump out in your mind as a threat in the passing game.
The biggest worry about Todd Gurley is his injury past. Combine that with the Jets more pressing need for an edge pass rusher, and I don’t see them taking Gurley at number six. If they found him available in the second round, or even traded into the bottom of the first round to get him, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
What do you think of Todd Gurley?
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