Person of Interest: Rams running back Todd Gurley

Dec 25, 2015, 10:50 AM | Updated: 11:04 am
Rookie Todd Gurley is fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,023 yards despite missing the first two g...
Rookie Todd Gurley is fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,023 yards despite missing the first two games. (AP)
(AP)

Vitals

• Position: Old-school stud-hoss running back
• Height: 6-1
• Weight: 227
• Age: 21
• Experience: Rookie

The storyline

When the Rams chose Todd Gurley with the 10th pick of this year’s draft, he became the first running back in three seasons to be chosen in the first round. You have to broaden it out a little bit to see just how rare it has become for a running back to be drafted as highly as Gurley. In the last 10 drafts going back to 2006, there have been six running backs chosen in the top 10. There were three picked in the top 10 in 2005 alone.

The fact that Gurley was coming off a season-ending knee injury and wasn’t certain to be ready for training camp made the selection even more noteworthy.

Gurley has an elusive combination of size and speed. In baseball terms, he has gap-to-gap power and also possesses big home-run power, and he ranks No. 4 in the league with 1,023 rushing yards despite being inactive the first two games as he continued his recovery from knee surgery.

Gurley has played in 12 games, started 11 and rushed for more than 125 yards in five of those games. His results, however, have declined over the course of that year. Over the first six games, he averaged 110.7 yards rushing per game and 5.6 per carry. Over his last six games, however, he has averaged 59.8 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry.

The statement

A franchise running back has become a rarity in the NFL. Just ask LeSean McCoy, the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher who was shipped to Buffalo in the offseason.

As he nears the end of his rookie season, Gurley has had a year reminiscent of a back that was drafted at a similarly lofty position: Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, who was the seventh player chosen in the 2007 draft.

“He looks exactly like the guy you want,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Gurley. “He’s big and fast and tough and savvy, and he can catch and all that. He’s got everything.”

The Seahawks have not allowed an opponent to rush for 100 yards in any of the past 20 regular-season games. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles was the last opponent to hit triple figures, and that was in November of last season.

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