The Seahawks, Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley

September 1st, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Todd Gurley — a fun player to watch

I don’t expect the Seahawks to draft a running back in round one. I think they’d only consider it if an Adrian Peterson level player was sat there at the end of round one.

A gift. A set of events that is pretty unlikely.

It’s a funny situation because on the one hand, Seattle is determined to use an explosive and physical running game as its offensive focal point. When the Seahawks eventually do part ways with Marshawn Lynch they’ll probably feel his departure, whoever’s waiting in the wings.

Yet even with a real sense of priority towards the run, here’s what we need to remember…

– The league has moved on from the 30-40 carry work horse. Lynch averaged 18 runs a game last season, with a regular season-high of 28 carries (vs San Francisco in week 2). In 2006 Shaun Alexander averaged 25 carries a game during an injury-hit regular season. He had a regular season high of 40 carries (vs Green Bay).

– Teams are passing on good running backs in round one these days, but Trent Richardson was seen as the exception to the rule. He was considered (by the media and many teams) to be a safe pick and was duly drafted #3 overall by Cleveland. His titanic failure coupled with the success of later round or UDFA backs will not be forgotten in a hurry.

– Pete Carroll is kind of making an exception by making Lynch such a tone-setter and focal point. At USC he loved to let multiple 5-star recruits battle for snaps. A multi-back system seems likely going forward. Even if Lynch retires after the 2014 season, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael are both contracted for at least another year. With potentially greater needs on the OL and DL — are you spending a vital first rounder on a running back?

It just seems unlikely.

I’m not convinced Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley will go in round one, or at least in the top-20. They’re both exceptional players with different skill-sets. Gordon has fantastic acceleration, the ability to cut with ease and the vision to exploit the smallest gap. He’s elusive and athletic if not a straight line runner. Gurley has the size to pound the rock but he’s surprisingly more effective when used as an explosive home run hitter carrying in the 15-20 range. That’s not to say he can’t develop into a feature runner like Lynch, but he tired too easily at times last season.

We’re seeing the position as a whole take a back seat. Teams rush to snap up the top offensive lineman and with several attractive DL options eligible for next years draft, they’ll almost certainly take priority. Not to mention the top 2-3 quarterbacks.

I suspect the Seahawks would be willing to keep looking for value at the position. Christine Michael was a relatively high pick but still a late second rounder. He wasn’t just any old running back either, he was one of the best athletes to enter the league in his generation — a true SPARQ champion. If given the opportunity to go after a first round running back or chance their arm on another Spencer Ware-type later on, I think they’ll wait.

If Lynch doesn’t retire and Turbin/Michael remain too, it’s pretty much a moot point.

And yet when you watch their week one tape, there’s still a lot to like about Gordon and Gurley. Fans of many teams will pine for this pair in 2015, we’ll see in good time where their true value lies.

12 Responses to “The Seahawks, Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley”

  1. KingRajesh says:

    I think we’ll be looking elsewhere in 2015, even if Lynch moves on.

    Probably DL, OL (Might need to replace Okung if he can’t stay healthy this year), CB, and WR.

  2. kevin mullen says:

    What I’ve learned the last few years: find players that tilt the field & find value. If these guys are on PC/JS board when they pick, I’m sure they’ll pull the trigger.

    Have to also factor Harvin’s contract, they could technically release him after this year if he has another injury plagued season. Could use another playmaker in his mold if this ever played out. Don’t necessarily need a WR to do a fly-sweep, Christine Michael and Gurley on the same field could be scary.

  3. rowdy says:

    I asked about gordens the other day and how his blocking and receiving were, Rob said non existing. That shocks me because the way he gets after it looks like he would be a good blocker. Gurley looks like he took it up a notch this year too. There’s going to be a lot of great football between the two this year for sure.

    • Rob Staton says:

      It was non existent in the past because he really acted as a complimentary home run hitter. This year will be a good test because now he will, presumably, as the primary back.

  4. Forrest says:

    Gurley would be awesome…but that’s some big dreaming, I think PC/JS are all in on Michael…

  5. Don says:

    Thank you for showing these player prospects, they are interesting to see how they look and how they would fit on the team. It is obviously too early to tell what the needs will be 6 months from now, but if RB is a priority, I hope Gurley is picked up. He looks like he has the strength and balance that would be needed, and enough speed and shiftiness as well. Hard to imagine him lasting to #32, but you never know.

  6. Michael M. says:

    They compared Gordon to Jamal Charles and Demarco Murray in that video. Obviously he doesn’t have the same straight line speed as Charles, and he cuts better than Murray. To me he looks like a taller version of Gio Bernard.

  7. Kip Earlywine says:

    While it’s true that RBs are being devalued more and more with each season and that it’s harder for RBs to establish value than it used to be, I wouldn’t rule out a scenario where these two backs are not only 1st rounders, but could potentially end up as top 10 picks.

    I look at it this way. It’s very rare to see a safety drafted in the first 15 picks. But in 2010, not one but TWO safeties went in the top 15 because their talent was that special. Whenever you have a ‘special’ talent at any position, it’s hard to rule them out as a top 15 pick.

    Last year we saw Aaron Donald go 13th overall, despite the fact that he’s purely a situational pass rusher. Donald deserved it, he’s a stud. If even a part time player can be special enough to genuinely deserve being a top 15 pick, then I would think that a RB should be able to get picked high too.

    It’s just my opinion and I’m sure some will disagree, but I honestly view Gurley and Gordon as being in a very rare class of talent, I could easily see either of them getting the kind of hype Trent Richardson did just two years ago.

    I think the only way we see either of these guys slip out of round one is if GM’s uncover some medical or character concern that they will summarily blow out of proportion. The only reason Eddie Lacy fell as far as he did in the draft was because some GMs thought his toe injuries would destroy his career. If not for that he probably would have been a first rounder, and Lacy is (to me) a full tier lower than these two in terms of talent. These two RBs are very special.

  8. Don says:

    I never thought I would hear myself say I hope the Hawks draft a Gurley RB!

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