The last running back to be drafted in the first round, was David Wilson in 2012. 3 RBs went in that draft. Trent Richardson, Doug Martin, and David Wilson. 0 Running Backs were drafted in 2013 and 2014. The success of later round running backs, and disappointing seasons by guys like Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, teams shy away from drafting running backs in the 1st round. This could all change with Todd Gurley, running back from Georgia. Gurley stands at 6’1 and weighs in at 231 LBs (Unofficial). Most backs his size are known for their power, not much else. Gurley is more than just a powerful back. He is a very good pass blocker, he possesses good hands, quick feet, fluent hips, break away speed, and a quality kick returner. I’ll show you some plays that show his ability to be a good runner and returner.
In the first picture, Todd Gurley, circled, takes a counter step, and drives the linebackers to the offense right. Gurley runs back left, and sees his blockers set up, and the edge sealed. (shown in the second picture).
Gurley turns the corner and explodes down the sideline. You can see the effect of the counter step in the third picture, because the linebackers are now chasing him, instead of being in front. Gurley not only gets the first down, but he takes it in for the score. For most backs, they would be tackled, but as you can see, Gurley has the speed to out run every defender for the end zone.
The 3 pictures above, are Todd Gurley’s 100 yard kickoff return for a TD. The first picture shows the blocker (Circled in Yellow), moving outside, and opening a lane for Gurley to run in. In the next picture, Gurley sets up #47, circled in red, to take on the only defender with an angle to tackle him. The final picture shows Gurley following the that block, and exploding up field. Gurley cut back towards the side line, like he is coached to do and headed into the end zone. The reason Gurley ran to the side line, if anybody catches him, the ball is held towards the sideline, and if he fumbles it goes out of bounds. Not Only does he make a great play, but he is aware enough to do as he is coached.
This final play, Todd Gurley is met by Vic Beasley (pictured top left), but Gurley is able to side step that tackle easily. Then he is tripped up, loses his balance, but is able to regain balance, and rumble for about 9 more yards. Gurley started to stumble at the 40 after being hit, and still rumbles to the 50. That’s very impressive for a guy his size.
Todd Gurley could be the first running back drafted since the 2012 draft. Gurley can fit any system at the next level. He has shown the ability to protect the quarterback, which is a major reason running backs don’t get on the field, especially as a rookie. Gurley should not have any problem protecting the QB, go out for a pass, return game, and most importantly, the run game. Look for Gurley to get at least some consideration in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft.