Todd Gurley   RB   Georgia

TALENT BOARD ROUND 2

STRENGTHS
Todd is an explosive, long striding running back with excellent size and strength to be an impact player for the team that selects him. He shows on film excellent hands and body control to adjust to the ball when he is used out of the backfield on passing plays. He is big and powerful when he gets past the line of scrimmage and when he is out in space, he will run over smaller defensive backs to gain the needed first down yardage. Todd has the speed and burst to take any play, at any time and at any point on the field all the way to the house. He might be one of the better running backs coming out of the backfield on passing downs for screens and wheel routes that I have seen in a long time because of his natural burst and speed. Todd is an impact player with the potential to be a franchise player, but as with most long striders, Todd has to stay healthy, which may prove to be difficult.

CONCERNS
Todd has decent lateral agility and vision through the tackles, but in spite of his size and strength, he does most of his damage outside the tackles and in open space. That means in the red zone you might want a different style back that can bring it through the tackles better than Todd. He also is terrible when reading and blocking a blitzing linebacker or defensive back for his quarterback. Seriously, a ferocious child can go right through him to the QB for a sack if Todd is doing the blocking. Nevertheless, he looks to be a natural pass catcher and has the ability to adjust to the ball in the air. He just might be a hell of a slot receiver inside the red zone.

BOTTOM LINE
The talent is obvious, but nagging injuries and serious knee injuries are a concern. Those issues aside, I see limitations in Todd’s ability to be anything more than CJ Spiller of the Buffalo Bills has been for his team and Spiller has not been on the field enough to be the impact player or consistent player that the Bills thought he would be. I don’t see Todd as a franchise back, but I do see him as a potential impact player depending on the coaching staff, type of offense and his ability to catch the ball like a receiver in traffic in the red zone. Todd has to stay healthy and unfortunately, long striders without GREAT vision and GREAT lateral agility typically struggle to stay healthy because they take too many hits straight on and without any give. If Todd can teach himself better straight arm techniques than the ones he uses now to keep defenders off his legs in the open field, he can stay healthy and, like I said, a healthy Todd in the right offense with the right coaches can become as dominating as Demarco Murray has been for the Cowboys. But, like Demarco Murray, it might take a few years and he has to become a much better blocker or those “ferocious children” will take advantage of him and he will get more QB’s hurt. The result of that will be that Todd will not get on the field enough at impact times to make impact plays. Todd could be selected in the first round if he can prove to be able to catch the ball (like I think he can) down the field; however, for me, with all of his questions marks in blocking and carrying the ball with consistency through the tackles I think it might be smarter to draft him at some point in the second.

Drew Boylhart
DEC/2014