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Draft Prospects: Todd Gurley - Running back

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Despite his torn ACL, Gurley is still the most talented running bak in the draft.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Forsett is a free agent, and even if he is re-signed, a running back for the future is needed for the Ravens. If Forsett is brought back, Georgia running back Todd Gurley would be the perfect complement. He could learn the zone scheme from perhaps its best operator while recovering from his knee injury sustained against Auburn this past season.

Since the combine, his stock has gained steam. He is six weeks ahead of schedule on his recovery and if he is on track for the start of training camp, his value at 26 overall might be too good to pass up.

The good

- Extraordinary combination of size and speed.

- Rare balance for a 6'1" 225-pound back.

- Rarely brought down by the first man.

- A nightmare to tackle in the open field.

- Can shorten strides in traffic, then expand in the open field.

- Explodes through the hole.

- Uncanny vision: can spot cutback lanes other backs can't dream of seeing.

- High football I.Q.; understands the game, plays within his abilities.

- Will be a factor out of the backfield. Soft hands, plus body control.

- Finishes every run.

- Scheme versatile: fit in a zone, gap, or power scheme.

The bad

- Tore ACL in late October.

- Missed three games as sophomore.

- At times has taken heavy body blows.

- Can be pushed back in pass protection. Base gets too narrow at times.

- Finishes every run. Could avoid unnecessary contact.

Breakdown

In one play, Gurley shows off his balance, his power and his unwillingness to go down. Perhaps the most impressive part of this play is the fact that he breaks multiple tackles with minimal momentum. That is true power.

On this play, Gurley follows the fullback to the hole. There is no penetration and Gurley exploits the blocking by exploding after getting the handoff. He then shorten his strides through traffic, which allows him to shed the South Carolina DB. He then opens the gate in the open field, galloping upfield at five yards a stride.


Gurley's vision is evident on this play. The play is designed to the weak side. The defense jumps all over it and over pursue, leaving the backside open. As soon as Gurley looks to cutback, he spots the open backside and exploits it. Keep in mind this is a Third-and-16.

As a back with injury questions, Gurley will have to adapt his game to minimize the punishment he takes. Adrian Peterson realized this after his own torn ACL and proceeded to rush for his best season. In Gurley's case, plays like this one could be eliminated. Dishing out a forearm or simply stepping out of bounds while extending the ball could've avoided a collision and picked up the first down.

Overall

Without his knee injury, Gurley is a top five talent. A blue chip player of that caliber falling to the mid twenties is rare. In my opinion, if the medical check out, the value will be too good for Ozzie Newsome to pass up, despite the deep running back class. As a runner, Gurley has no weaknesses. Backs like Duke Johnson and Ameer Abdullah do. Having a player like Gurley gives the Ravens the chance to have an unstoppable force, Similar to Marshawn Lynch, capable of powering through any defense at any time of any game, whether be it in September or in January.