Running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely by the University of Georgia. It was assumed this season would be his last, that Gurley will elect to go pro and enter the 2015 NFL Draft in the spring. Conventional thinking would assume that this suspension would hurt his 2015 draft stock. Conventional thinking is wrong, because not only will this suspension have zero negative affect on his stock, it will help it.
Todd Gurley is currently seen as the top running back prospect and is projected by many to be the first running back taken off the board. His current draft stock projects him being taking somewhere in the middle of the first round between the 10th and the 20th pick. So how would a suspension improve Gurley’s draft stock? Here is how:
The Suspension: Based off of current reports, Gurley did not get suspended for drugs, alcohol, or conduct detrimental to the team, or anything that would cause a NFL GM to question his character. The current report is Gurley was given money for autographs, sources say he received approximately $400 for 80 autographs. Many NFL draft picks have gotten in trouble for this before; some names include AJ Green and Johnny Manziel. Green and Mazniel were both still selected in the first round, Green going fourth overall to the Cincinnati Bengals, and Johnny Football going No. 22 to Cleveland. Though this not the wisest thing, Gurley could have done, many other first round picks have done worse. Not to mention, there is a certain level of sympathy to be found among fans who disagree with the NCAA’s current policies on player compensation.
The Effect of the Suspension: NFL GMs do not see the running back position the same way they used to. Running backs were once seen the same way quarterbacks are seen now; teams would build their franchise around the ideal running back, emphasizing the ground attack. Now when a GM looks at a running back they look at how many “miles”, or carries the running back has. The look at the carries because running backs on average have the shortest careers in the NFL. By looking at how many carries the running back has had in college and in high school GMs attempt to predict how long an NFL career the running-back can sustain. Just as you would not spend top dollar to buy a car with 90 thousand miles, NFL GMs will not waste a first round pick on a running back who has had a high amount of carries in high school and college. This suspension will limit Gurley’s touches, and reduce injury risk because he will take less hits. Not to mention, this guy has nothing to prove to anyone, and will have his chance at the NFL Combine to show people his absence hasn’t taken a toll on his ability to perform.
*Section Photo credit to John Bazemore, AP Photo; Featured Photo (above) credit to Sporting News