With the tenth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the St Louis Rams selected Todd Gurley, running back, from the University of Georgia.
Coming off of a torn ACL his junior season of college football, Gurley was an unknown. While some experts felt he should have remained at Georgia for another year, he took his chances at rehabbing and entered the draft. All he needed was a chance, and the Rams gave him that chance.
What do Barry Sanders, Bryce Brown, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis, Jerome Bettis, Marshall Faulk, and Maurice Jones-Drew all have in common?
Not sure? What about Chris Johnson, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Larry Johnson, Barry Sanders, Clinton Portis, Terrell Davis, Marcus Allen, OJ Simpson, Otis Armstrong?
The 1st set: the only other running backs to rush for 128 yards at the age of 21.
The 2nd set: the only other running backs in NFL history to rush for 128 yards in four consecutive games.
For reference that set of backs include:
156,890 Career Rushing Yards
1,122 Career Rushing Touchdowns
66 Career Pro Bowls
7 Current Hall of Famers (likely a few more)
*Stats are subject to change as Chris Johnson and Bryce Brown are still active
Now it’s too early to say that Todd Gurley will be a future Hall of Famer. In fact his streak of 128 yards games has already been extinguished. However, there is no ceiling to his potential. At only 21 years old, he has the ability to play longer than many backs could ever dream. Already overcoming one ACL tear, he knows how to mentally comeback from an injury. Possibly most important? He has Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher played alongside Walter Payton. Jeff Fisher has called the plays for Eddie George, Chris Johnson, and Steven Jackson. Put simply: Jeff Fisher knows running backs.
As the Rams look to turn a corner as a franchise, Todd Gurley can be relied upon to turn the corner on a defense. A perfect balance between speed and power gives him the look of the next great running back. It’s still early, but for now, just sit back and enjoy the show.
*Statistics from Pro-Football Reference. Images from Vice, SI, SBNation, and the Boston Herald.