There are two running backs in the 2015 NFL Draft that stand out among the rest at this point. Two rushers that were five star recruits in high school. Two rushers that committed to SEC schools only to later end up meeting in the SEC Championship as freshman. Those running backs are Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley and Alabama Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon. I'll evaluate each rusher based on five categories.
Physical Tools: T.J. Yeldon
Todd Gurley is 6-1 232, but he got injured near the end of his sophomore. Yeldon weighs a reasonable 6-2 218 which is your ideal size of a running back. Yeldon doesn't look 6-2 218 in the photo above. Yet he still has the ideal size of a running back in the NFL.
Experience: Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley has two years of experience as a starting running back. Yeldon did not become Alabama's full-time starter until 2013 after the Green Bay Packers drafted Eddie Lacy in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Gurley ran for 1,385 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. Gurley ran for 989 rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns even though he missed three games in 2013 due to injuries.
Speed: T.J. Yeldon
Both guys are fast and can run 4.4 40 times. I think Yeldon is faster, but Gurley has better agility and is more elusive. Yeldon has the burst off the edge, plus Alabama is known for running the football. Having other backs challenge Yeldon will motivate him to perform. I givee Yeldon he edge in speed.
Ball Carrier Vision: Todd Gurley
T.J. Yeldon had two offensive lineman last season with Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle and Austin Shepherd at right tackle. Both guys are run blockers. Gurley had no run blockers and he had to react quicker.
Production: T.J. Yeldon
Gurley has impressive production and more experience in the backfield, but Yeldon has better production. Yeldon ran for 1,108 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2012 as a freshman behind Eddie Lacy as the #2 back for the Crimson Tide. He ran for 1,235 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in 2013 after winning the starting job.
Gurley has shown he can run the ball without Aaron Murray, but it's close between Gurley and Yeldon as to who the top running back in this 2015 Draft class is. What Yeldon does without McCarron and what Gurley does without Murray will ultimately determine which running back gets drafted first in 2015.
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