Todd Gurley is the top running back prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft and he, along with the University of Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, promise to be the first running backs taken in the first round since 2012. That isn’t to say there haven’t been running backs worthy of first round picks in previous drafts, but as the NFL continues to place more emphasis on the passing game, the running game is overlooked.
Gone are the days of Ricky Williams and Herschel Walker trades. Teams no longer see the running back position as one worth throwing entire drafts for. Certainly no team is going to offer a Julio Jones level package for a running back.
Yet we have Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley ready to contribute immediately and bring the running back position back to the first round.
Can either of them be a top-10 pick?
The last time a running back was a top-10 pick was Trent Richardson to the Cleveland Browns at three overall in 2012. The Browns didn’t exactly have great return on their investment as Richardson fizzled out with the team and he was promptly traded to the Indianapolis Colts…where he has done essentially nothing.
Richardson had some impressive talent coming out of college, but Todd Gurley could be even better.
Gurley is entering the NFL with just one 1000 yard season under his belt, but boasts over 900 yards in his other two and total of 36 touchdowns. Tack on another 615 receiving yards and six touchdowns and you’ve got a young running back who can really do it all. Exactly what a modern offensive coordinator dreams of.
Gurley’s problem is that he plays a position that simply isn’t worth a top-10 pick to many teams. It also doesn’t help that there is a lot of top flight talent at other positions (namely pass rusher) that Gurley has to compete with. A team has to really, really need a running back to be willing to pass on other players for Gurley in the top of the draft.
Right now, I don’t see a team that has a major need at the position and isn’t going to fill other needs instead. Teams like the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants are intriguing, but there is little hope that they will turn to a running back that high in the draft.
For the 2015 NFL Draft, expect a couple running backs to go in the first round, just don’t expect either of them to be in the top-10.
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