Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley (3) runs against Auburn Tigers defensive back Jermaine Whitehead (35) and others in the third quarter of their game at Sanford Stadium. Georgia won 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The draft process for an NFL team is a long and tedious one. Scouts keep their eyes peeled on college players year round even though the actual hype begins shortly after the NFL’s regular season ends. We are headed into full blown draft season, an exciting time that reaches its peak when teams are officially on the clock beginning April 30th.
This year we are tracking every player that the Baltimore Ravens talk to or reportedly show interest in. Whether it be a workout, interview, team visit, or simply a rumored bit of interest, we are going to cover them all. We’ll take a look at each prospect and discuss whether or not that particular player might represent a good pick for the Ravens.
It may drive Ravens fans crazy, but several draftniks have been mocking a running back to Baltimore in the first round. Their reasoning is simple – if Justin Forsett doesn’t return, they could benefit from a game changing talent at the position. And Georgia’s Todd Gurley is a game changing talent.
Running backs rarely go in the first round anymore, because few are valuable enough in today’s NFL to return the kind of value teams need from a high pick. Todd Gurley is one of the exceptions to that rule, despite coming off of an ACL tear he suffered last season. Physically, he has the skill set to be a dominant NFL runner. Gurley is a big back with the power to run guys over, but he also possesses small back speed and the quickness to break away from them.
Todd Gurley’s size and speed combination is rare. He hits the hole quickly and can accelerate past the second level of opposing defenses, ripping off huge gains and adding yards after contact with his physical style. Defenders routinely struggle to get Gurley down, a la Marshawn Lynch. Defenders often simply try to slow him down until several teammates show up to finish bringing him down.
Many around the league feel that Gurley is the best running back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. The biggest concerns revolve around his durability and how he will recover from his ACL tear. That type of injury tends to sap speed, but this is a guy who averaged 6.4 yards per carry over his college career and he racked up 36 touchdowns.
Gurley is currently projected to return from his injury around mid-August, so his medical evaluations will obviously be the most important piece of his pre-draft evaluations. Even with the significance of his injury, Todd Gurley still has a good shot at being selected in the first round. Running backs with this kind of game changing talent don’t grow on trees, and are a dying breed in today’s NFL. Plus, in addition to Lynch, Gurley has drawn comparisons to a similarly great Ravens running back – Jamal Lewis.
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