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2015 Free Agency
Dave Blake has a blog posted from Saturday, Should the Dolphins consider RB Todd Gurley at #14. I say the Dolphins should give Todd Gurley a VERY LONG AND HARD LOOK. There is a good chance that the Big 3 at wide receiver, Amari Cooper of Alabama, Kevin White of West Virginia and DeVante Parker of Louisville will be gone by the time the draft rolls around to Miami at #14.
At this point, if you are Miami, do you look to take the BPA, Best Player Available, or do you trade down to acquire additional picks. Seattle Seawhawks GM John Schneider has stated that his orgnization believes that there are only 16 players worhty of a 1st round draft grade. While I do not know if he has Gurley in that group of 16, I have done some research the last week to see where Gurley does rank among some of the better known draft sites. ESPN has him ranked 10th, NFLDraftscout.com on CBSSports.com has him ranked 14th, Scott Wright of NFLDraftcountdown has him ranked 4th, SI.com has him ranked 16th and Daniel Jeremiah, the former Baltimore Ravens scout and NFL.com analyst has Gurley ranked at #12.
The only reason that Gurley is not a top 10 in all list is he tore his ACL in the Auburn game last fall. He also has had to deal with an ankle injury in 2013 that caused him to miss 3 games. There are concerns about his durability, but we have seen players come back from more serious knee injuries than Gurley. Frank Gore, now of Indianapolis has had numerous knee surguries along with Adrian Peterson, who came off his torn ACL and MCL to post a 2,000 yard season. Willis McGahee had one of the most severe knee injuries I have seen, but was able to come back and have a VERY successful NFL career. Gurley just recently had his knee re-checked in Indianapolis with other prospects that had to have injuries checked out and came away with good news. Here is a quote from ProFootballtalk.com.
"Gurley, who looked like a sure-thing first-round pick before suffering a torn ACL in November, had his surgically reconstructed knee inspected by doctors as part of the NFL’s medical-recheck today in Indianapolis. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Gurley’s knee checked out fine and there’s optimism that he’ll be good to go in time for training camp."
This is from NFL.com in regards to the teams top 5 draft needs, and below is what they have as the Dolphins needs.
Top 5 needs: WR, G, DT, CB, RB
No. of selections: 6
Draft picks: Round 1 (14), Round 2 (47), Round 4 (114), Round 5 (149), Round 5 (150), Round 6 (191)
Analysis: The addition of Kenny Stills doesn't mean the Dolphins have their No. 1 WR. Finding a big-time target for Ryan Tannehill is an option. Miami made strides on the offensive line last season but needs guard help. The addition of Ndamukong Suh helps, but another interior defender, as well as a nickel cornerback, could be added.
While RB is not an IMMEDIATE need, it is listed as a need for the Dolphins. If the chance is presented to take what some are calling the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, would you not seriously consider taking him. Gurley certainly fits the mode as BPA, and he would give you an explosvie, big back that can catch out of the backfield, has homerun kickoff return ability and the same homerun ability as a running back. This is considered to be a deep draft for running backs, and some have made the case for waiting until later in the draft to address the need for a big running back, but my arguement is that if you are looking to take a big back, why pass on the best back in the draft.
This is the write up on Gurley from NFLDraftscout.com, a site that I think does a great job and have a lot of respect for. While doing their scouting report on Gurley, they do mention how NFL has devalued the running back position and make a case for one of our poster and big draft guy Mark (swerve) guy, David Cobb.
STRENGTHS: Built for the NFL with a muscle-bound, physical frame and naturally lowers his pads and squares his shoulders to attack the line of scrimmage and bounce off defenders. He runs with natural balance, power and momentum that makes him tough to slow down, rarely conceding with the first tackler.
Reads the first line of attack very well and senses daylight to hit holes with authority and quickness to stick-and-go, accelerating extremely well in his cuts. Knows how to shift his weight extremely well for a 232-pounder and strings together moves with devastating jump cuts and long strides to eat up yards.
Soft, natural hands out of the backfield and is a willing, cognizant blocker in pass protection.
WEAKNESSES: Bit taller than ideal. Torn ACL in November of 2014 a big red flag that will cause pause for NFL teams with a timetable for return around mid-August. Also missed three games in 2013 due to an ankle injury, so durability concerns are significant, especially considering the physical punishment he has absorbed in the SEC over the past three seasons.
COMPARES TO: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks -- Like Lynch, Gurley is best known for simply bowling over defenders, but each back's success is also a testament to good vision, surprisingly light feet and balance to bounce off would-be tacklers.
When healthy, Gurley has proven he has the unique skill set to warrant first-round consideration. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder boasts a combination of vision, power and acceleration which earned comparisons to Marshawn Lynch and former All-Pro Jamal Lewis from NFL scouts.
Gurley was in the Heisman conversation in 2014 with 773 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in six games before missing four games due to an NCAA suspension for accepting money for autographs. In his first game back, Gurley suffered a season-ending torn ACL. He still rushed for 911 yards on 7.4 yards per carry in 2014, and finished his Georgia career with 3,285 yards on 6.4 yards per carry and rushed for 36 touchdowns in three seasons. He added 615 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns and two kickoff return touchdowns.
With youngster Nick Chubb putting up Gurley-like production in his absence, some wonder if both backs aren't benefiting from outstanding offensive-line play at Georgia. The talent at running back could actually allow NFL teams to devalue the position a bit in this draft. In a case of supply and demand, teams could elect to draft other positions, believing a good back like Minnesota's David Cobb could be found in the middle rounds.
I will also add that in 510 career carries, Gurley has fumbled only 3 times. In a league that values ball security, this is a big stat as well. And to address those that are concerned about addressing perhaps the most pressing need, the offensive line, this is how my mock draft would look if Gurley were the pick at #14.
1) Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
2) Ali Marpet, OT/OG, Hobart
4) Chris Conley, WR, Georgia
5) Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville
5) Ramik Wilson, ILB, Georgia
6) Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama
I would understand if the Dolphins were to trade down to gain additional picks, especially if the Top 3 wide receivers are gone. Losing that 3rd round pick in the trade to New Orleans hurt. But Miami has shown a lot of interest in Gurley, and a good bit of it has been undercover for the most part. Some think the Dolphins are trying to build up interest in Gurley, but there is interest in him already.
Miami had a very difficult time coming up with short yardage and run out the clock in key games in 2014. You give this team Gurley to go with Lamar Miller, and you have a POTENT 1-2 punch. I would bring Gurley along slowly, even with him possibly being ready by training camp. But he gives you that big back you are looking for, a homerun threat that can catch the ball out of the backfield and much more. People state that Bill Lazor did not run the ball enough in 2014, and I agree. You add Gurley with an improving Miller, and all of a sudden you give the Dolphins the type of balance that would make this offense very unpredictable and very dangerous. The offense improved greatly in 2014. Add Gurley and Marpet, and watch this offense take another step forward.
My thoughts are, if Todd Gurley is there at #14, YOU TAKE HIM.
There have been a lot of rumors as of late concerning the Miami Dolphins and Todd Gurley at pick #14. Is this really a consideration for the Dolphins as they have serious needs at WR, CB, and MLB?
While a big back such as Todd Gurley would be a nice 1-2 punch at the RB position, our current starter, Lamar Miller, ran for 1099 yards at 5.1 ypc, and found the end zone 8 times last year. What the Dolphins do need is a big back in the red zone and Gurley would be a serious red zone threat. However, the pass happy offense that Bill Lazor runs would probably waste two good backs. Keep in mind that Lamar Miller was less effective later in games when the Dolphins needed a back to run out the clock. Gurley would be that 4th quarter back. Is he intriguing? You bet.
But, look at the WR position. Tannehill will need some real help there, and DaVonte Parker would be be a very nice add to our roster after losing all of our 2014 starters except for rookie Jarvis Landry in the off season. The WR position is our biggest area of need. Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace, and Brandon Gibson are no longer with us, and let's not forget about TE Charles Clay.
I see a huge need at CB. We have the outstanding Brent Grimes starting on one side, but he is 31 years old and becomes a free agent after this season. Will the Dolphins renew his contract? It is possible, but it is not a certainty. On the other side is Jamar Taylor, and he was impressive coming out of college. He should be good enough to start but he has been slow to "get it" and does get burned at times. He also has had issues getting on the field the past two years due to medical and injury problems. I do like him though, and I feel he can possibly look like the CB that we drafted him to be. The Dolphins signed Zachary Bowman to push Jamar Taylor for the starting position. As far as the nickel CB, the Dolphins upgraded the position by adding Brice McCain and letting Jimmy Wilson go.
The Dolphins do not have a MLB even though Koa Misi made a decent adjustment from the OLB position last year. Can he stay healthy or will we get another in-and-out season as we had last year from him? I would like to see him move back to OLB and have the Dolphins draft a player to start this year at MLB, but the Dolphins would over-draft to sign one this year in the first round. There are some good players to choose from later in the first round and in the second round.
And, yes, the Dolphins are weak at the guard position, but if we invest in another offensive lineman in the first round I'll need to be taken to the nearest rubber room. Use our #14 position to draft a real playmaker. I like who Tony Simmons, our Phinfever NFL Draft Analysist, chose with our 2nd round pick in his MOCK 2.0:
2) Ali Marpet, OT/OG, Hobart, 6'4, 307 lbs - This D-III kid has come from nowhere to having a stellar Senior Bowl and Combine to see his stock take off in the NFL. He has the quickness and lateral movement to play in the Dolphins scheme and a mean streak you like. Can anchor and stays square and understands leverage and blocking angles. Smart, tough, physical kid. The concern is he has not played much at the OG position, which is where he will play in the NFL along with the level of competition he played against. His versatility of playing OT is a plus as well, and he is at a position I believe the Dolphins have to address and address early. This is a kid that a couple of board members, Tristan (Finster) and Mark (swerve) really like, and the more I read on him the more I liked him as well.
So, back to Todd Gurley. I would not be disappointed in drafting Gurley. As far as coming off of a knee injury, from what I hear he'll be a good back this year, but it won't be until his second year that he shows all of his outstanding skills. The main reason that I am intrigued with him is that he is one of the most outstanding backs to come out of college in a good while.
On a personal note, I think the Dolphins are amping up interest to either get someone to trade up with us, or have another team draft him ahead of us so a talent that we really want falls down to us. I would be happy with the pick, but I do agree that CB and WR are bigger needs for us. MLB is a big need, but we' have to trade down to get value as we would be overdrafting at #14 for those in the draft that can play the MLB position.
With Tannenbaum working with Hickey, drafting a big name player in Gurley would not be a surprise pick, so, if you are really against it, you'd better get over the teeth-gnashing now because it is a possibility. I do seriously doubt it though. I think the rumors about the Dolphins interest in Gurley is to push push his draft status up in order to push good talent down to us. If everyone that we want is taken and we would rather try to get a 3rd round pick back then, another team that "has to have" Gurley may be interested in trading up with us.
From RotoWorld ...
The Dolphins have been doing "a lot of research" on Georgia RB Todd Gurley, reports the Miami Herald. The Fins are "unquestionably intrigued" by Gurley, writes beat reporter Barry Jackson. This is where things get interesting. The Dolphins own the No. 14 overall pick and there's roughly a 50-50 shot that Gurley will be available when they get on the clock. If he is, will Miami eschew bigger needs elsewhere to tab a big name and a force of a running back talent? Or will they hold off until Day 2 or 3 to grab one of this class' many talented backs available at a discounted price?
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah says it's more likely that Georgia RB Todd Gurley goes in the top 10 than that he goes at the end of Round 1. "I think he's more likely to go in the top 10 than he is to go in the bottom 10 of the first round," Jeremiah said. "More likely he's going to go in that 10 to pick 22. I have very little doubt he's going to be a first-round pick, it's just a matter of how high he'll go." Gurley (No. 13 on Jeremiah's board) and Melvin Gordon (No. 14) have both been invited to Chicago for the draft, as strong an indication as any that a player is first-round bound. "He's a special player," Jeremiah said of Gurley.
A couple weeks ago I bought Ian Wharton's 2015 Draft Guide , and I feel that it is worth every penny of the $5 that I paid for it ... and more. His positional rankings differ a little from ESPN Insider's "draft gurus", but if you think that all the NFL teams draft boards all look the same then you are mislead with that. Below is his analysis on Todd Gurley.