Last week, we looked at the top two quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft. This week, we turn our attention to the top two running backs: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Georgia’s Todd Gurley.
The most interesting thing about these two running backs is that they are very similar. Both are 6-foot-1. Gurley is 221 pounds, compared to Gordon’s 215. Gordon gets a slight edge because he participated in the combine, posting a 4.52 40-yard time.
Gordon has a more experienced career, racking up 631 rushing attempts, 4,915 yards and 45 rushing touchdowns. Gurley is a workhorse with 510 attempts, 3,285 yards, 36 TDs on a career filled with injuries and suspensions.
Looking at the tape, both Gordon and Gurley are the same runners. Both are explosive and have quick feet. They both can plant the foot and change direction on a dime, while handling the rock all day.
Gordon, however, has a tendency to be too technical. He tends to go where the hole should be, even if there is no hole. At times, he stops moving his feet and can get bunched up in the box. That happened a lot in the game against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
On the other side, Gurley can make the first defender miss like nobody else. However, it would be nice to see Gurley lower the shoulder on that defender, or try to not bounce everything so early. Some games Gurley did that, and even though he got big runs out of it, it would be great to see just how physical the Georgia running back could be.
While both are great finishers and run vertical, Gurley has the better breakaway speed, evident in the game against Clemson where Gurley returned a kickoff. He hit the hole and was gone, and nobody was able to touch him until he was in the endzone. Gordon can get out in space, but there isn’t much film of him truly out running defenders.
Both running backs have their own issues, of course. Even though he recovers the ball, Gordon has dropped it too many times. Gurley has off-field issues that hindered what could’ve been a monster collegiate career. Injuries and suspensions kept him on the sidelines too many times.
In the passing game, both backs are okay route runners and can pass protect. However, these backs are running backs first.
Both of these backs will get drafted in the first round, and it’s a team’s preference that decides who’ll go first.