Why Todd Gurley is just another college running back.

Okay, I'm going to assume that this post is directed at me, since I'm the one who has made the lengthy posts on the subject.

First off, no, Gurley isn't Adrian Peterson. I never said he was. Totally different players. One of my biggest criticisms of Gurley (and yes, I do have them) is that he doesn't have a distinct style. This can work for or against him, but he routinely bowls people over. That's about where his style is at the moment. That was something that Adrian Peterson had far more developed than Gurley at this point in their careers.

What I look at with Gurley isn't his stats, though, as you seem to gravitate towards. It's skill set. You're right that Chubb does have better stats than Gurley. He's also one of the best prospects that I have ever seen. If I was going to say a prospect was a once in a decade talent, it would be Chubb, not Gurley. With that out of the way, I still think that Gurley is a 1st round talent despite the torn ACL.

First off, I'm going to address the injury. ACL tears are tough to come back from. Modern medicine, though, has made that journey considerably easier. We see many more athletes come back from tearing their ACL than being stopped by it. But we're not focusing on them. We're looking specifically at Gurley. One of the most important things to note is that he's already running. He is well ahead of the schedule that was set for him which originally projected that he would be ready around week 3. At this point, that projection has been pushed up to just before training camp.

What I'm projecting Gurley's success in the league on isn't his stats, though. As I've addressed in my other posts, it's his above average to elite skill set at everything that we need at the position. Experience in a ZBS (a knock against Gordon), strong ball security (a knock against Gordon), above average speed, above average vision, elite pass catcher (a knock against Gordon), elite strength to break tackles both in his upper and lower body.

Now, as you brought up elsewhere, the same was said about Trent Richardson. Except. And this is a big except. Richardson did not love football. This was a huge story recently about how at the draft, players heard him say that he just didn't have a love for the game. And all he did was make excuses.

At the end of the day, Gurley is a high level back with a strong skill set that fits our offensive system.

But more importantly, it's better to take a player that fits the system and has a high talent level than reaching for a player that we could have an equivalent talent later in the draft. The other positions that we need (DT, OL, CB) will all have the 1st round players taken by 23. While this is a good running back class, there is a significant dropoff between Gurley/Gordon and the other backs, and Gordon just doesn't fit our system well.

So, purely from the standpoint of taking the best player available that fills a need, Gurley is likely going to be that answer.

/r/detroitlions Thread