Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; General view of Radio City Music Hall during the 2013 NFL Draft. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Your attention please: Todd Gurley, please report to the Jaguars huddle.
After five games, Jacksonville has showed some life in the passing game but the rushing attack is beyond awful. The offensive line has been suspect at best and their ineptitude keeps the defense on the field for far too long. At this point in the season, a trade is probably out of the question so the only ways forward are through free agency and the draft.
It would be easy to go and address the offensive line in the draft, which would be met with little objection from the fan base, but I think that GM David Caldwell needs to take a risk. They need someone explosive that can handle the grid of being the primary running back. They need Todd Gurley from the University of Georgia, who has just notably been suspended for allegedly accepting money to sign memorabilia.
Is this necessarily a red flag for his character? I don’t think so at all. It’s tough to be a college athlete, and many times there very little money left over. If I am a general manager, I don’t think that this indicates poor judgment and character, butwhat he did violated NCAA rules. Better yet, this may end up keeping him healthy going into the draft. An SEC running back takes a lot of punishment, and any reprieve not due to injury is a mixed blessing. Sure the university would want them on the field, but an NFL franchise that’s targeting the player wouldn’t be upset that he’s not being hit thirty times a game.
In a lot of respects, Gurley reminds me of C.J. Spiller when he was at Clemson. He is a versatile running back who can contribute immediately on special teams, as well as being on the field for forty snaps per game. Jacksonville doesn’t have to ask him to be the every-down back immediately, but in time his role would increase. It would definitely cause defensive coordinators to worry about more than just Blake Bortles.
Given that running backs have been drafted much later than in previous decades, Jacksonville would be placing a lot of money and faith into a running back straight out of college. However, every draft pick is a risk. Sooner or later, the Jaguars will need to take one in order to propel them out of the AFC South’s basement.