As the 2015 NFL draft nears, most fans and analysts feel that the biggest hole the Dallas Cowboys have to fill is the running back position. DeMarco Murray‘s departure to Philadelphia will leave a void in what was the strength of last year’s team.
There is clearly one running back who could actually upgrade the position, Georgia’s Todd Gurley. But it seems likely he will be drafted prior to the team’s 27th overall pick. Should they go up and get him?
The first key to remember is that Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones trade out of the first round draft slot at a huge rate. Dallas has been more inclined to trade back the last few years, but Jones is never shy to make a big move for a player the team covets.
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The Cowboys have had mixed results trading up of recent. The huge pay off was with wide receiver Dez Bryant. The team only needed to move up three slots to get the sliding Bryant, but he has turned into an All-Pro receiver, and a franchise cornerstone.
The 2012 move from 14th overall to 6th to get cornerback Morris Claiborne has gone the other way. After a solid rookie season, Claiborne had a troubling second year. He has struggled to even be on the field, but struggled even more when he does play. Dallas surely regrets ever making that trade. Their aggressiveness was not rewarded that instance.
Georgia’s Gurley has been deemed by some as the best generational talent since running back Adrian Peterson entered the league. Here’s what CBSsports.com and DallasCowboys.com’s Dane Brugler had to say about Gurley.
"“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.”"
However, the junior back is coming off a torn ACL in his knee. The Cowboys have gambled and lost on injury riddled players in the past. The other consideration is how far the team will need to go up to get Gurley.
The San Diego Chargers are rumored to have interest in Gurley and they pick at 17th overall. A move to get up ahead of them will cost Dallas at least their second round pick. The Arizona Cardinals also pick in front of the Cowboys and are looking for running back help.
When all is said and done it is really a mystery as to where Gurley will end up. He is clearly desired by many NFL teams. However, this is said to be one of the deepest running back classes in recent history. Other backs like Melvin Gordon, Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, Ameer Abdullah, and Duke Johnson will be available in later rounds.
Behind Dallas’ offensive line, it’s fair to question how richly the team needs to invest to get productivity from the position. All these factors likely mean that the team will select Gurley if he falls to 27th, but a trade up seems rather unlikely. Gurley could be viewed as a luxury player to the team, which wouldn’t warrant a large amount of resources.
There is no doubt of the Bulldogs ability as a runner, and the impact he could have on this offense. At the end of the day, there is still other positions that need to be addressed, and that will mean that Todd Gurley will not be wearing a star on his helmet come May 1st.