Remember when there were people criticizing the St. Louis Rams for drafting Todd Gurley – a running back coming off a torn ACL – with the tenth overall pick in this year’s draft? Well, Gurley is silencing the haters. He is averaging a league-high 6.1 yards per carry and a league-high 115.0 rushing yards per game and has the Rams (4-3) in playoff contention.
While comparisons to Adrian Peterson – a freakish talent coming off an ACL injury and having a great season – are obvious, Gurley doesn’t get caught up in comparisons.
“I don’t really try to compare myself to nobody else,” the Rams rookie running back said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I just try to play my game. But I feel like I do have the aggressiveness that AP has. That’s one thing that he really has, (but) I’m no way compared to him.”
The Rams play Peterson and the Vikings (5-2) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Peterson is third in the league in rushing yards per game (90.4), but here’s the crazy thing: If you discount Gurley’s first game, in which he rushed six times for nine yards, his league-leading yards average jumps all the way from 115 to 141.5.
“We had a plan,” Gurley said of his quiet rookie debut. “We knew I wasn’t going to come in and play every snap that game. We were just trying to get my feet wet and just get used to the game again.”
Gurley, who starred at Georgia, was asked to compare college football to the NFL. What’s the best part of being a pro?
“No school,” Gurley said, laughing. “But no, man, it is cool. I’m just happy to be around Coach Fisher. He does a great job with us. It’s just a lot of time to yourself. It’s just all football, so you can focus on your job.”
Gurley said that NFL players “are a lot bigger, a lot faster and a lot stronger” and that “they’re definitely coming to hit you.” Pass protection is not easy.
“Oh, it’s definitely hard,” Gurley said. “You got guys like NaVorro Bowman and stuff. You don’t know if he’s going to bull-rush you – he has the strength to do that – or he can hit you with one of the greatest spin moves ever.”
Gurley was asked what advice he would give to Leonard Fournette, who some feel should sit out his junior season to avoid injury. Gurley disagrees with that advice.
“Man, keep playing,” he said. “We don’t care abut all that stuff as a player. we just want to play. It don’t matter how much money you make, or if you don’t make no money at all. We just love the game and want to play. I (would) just tell him injuries happen. Don’t even worry about it. Just play your game.”
Two fun facts about Gurley: He’s a diehard Duke basketball fan and loves Jolly Ranchers.
“Coach K is the best coach ever,” Gurley said. “I hate UNC. We won the national championship last year and we’re hoping to go again.”
As for the Jolly Ranchers, Gurley likes every flavor, especially watermelon and green apple.
Said Gurley, “You can’t go wrong with those two.”