Gurley or Gordon Better Fit for the Cowboys?


Jan 1, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) after the game against the Auburn Tigers in the 2015 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Auburn Tigers 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Barring a trade for Adrian Peterson, the Cowboys are certain to take a running back in the 2015 NFL Draft.  While talent is spread throughout the rounds, two names have long pulled ahead of the pack: Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon.

Both runners appear to have game-changing abilities, but their strengths are different.  If the Cowboys have a chance to pick between the two of them (which is still a possibility, albeit a diminishing one), it has to be considered who has the best chance to flourish

Todd Gurley

Think of Gurley as a slightly less physical Marshawn Lynch, but with more breakaway ability.  Now, there isn’t any team in the League who wouldn’t like to have arguably the game’s best running back (collectively over the last few years, at least), but Lynch had a few mediocre seasons before he became who he is.

Sure he was still growing up and learning in Buffalo, but it was clear from Day 1 that Seattle’s scheme was just better suited for his skill set.  And remember, the Bills spent the 12th pick on him – ironically, where the RB-needy Browns are picking this year – so we are talking a comparable prospect in terms of collegiate hype.

Thus, while many feel Gurley is the best all-around Back in the draft, it’s not guaranteed that he’ll do well wherever he goes.  Like Lynch, Gurley has a knack for running through blocks.  He uses his speed and strength to beat contact rather than avoid it.  This is what makes Gurley and Lynch good – they only need an offensive line to secure the first level; they get through to the second and beyond on their own.

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Melvin Gordon

Gordon, on the other hand, is more of a lateral runner.  He prefers to see blocks and find a hole, rather than create his own like Gurley.  What makes Gordon so good is how quickly he could do it.  His vision is very advanced – probably thanks to playing behind Wisconsin’s superb offensive line.  When you combine Gordon’s vision with his top-shelf speed and above-average toughness, you have a serious threat every carry.  It’s almost no surprise that in 2014, he became the second all-time single season rusher in FBS history with 2,587 yards (behind Barry Sanders).

Strengths, though, can also be weakness.  Critics of Melvin Gordon say that he looks to bounce runs out too often.  This is a common trait amongst young, fast running backs, but not all of them grow out of it.  Gordon also had some ball security issues, fumbling 7 times in 2014.  Oddly enough, Melvin Gordon – who, by the way, carried the ball nearly 350 times in 2014 – is much like a young DeMarco Murray, but a little bit quicker.  Heck, even their combine performances were strikingly similar.

Who’s better for the ‘Boys?

Obviously, DeMarco Murray was pretty darn good for the Cowboys, so if a Back is a lot like him, one has to think he’d be a good fit in Dallas. It did take a few years before Murray settled in though, and as good as he was in 2014, there were a few untimely fumbles, amongst other things.  Of course, the difference is that whoever comes to Dallas now will be greeted with a solid offensive line, not have to wait around for one.

For the reasons above, this writer really wants to see Gordon wearing a star (I mean in an official capacity).  I just think his vision, shiftiness and speed would be a good fit.  A home run threat is what the team needs.  Still, I sort of have to agree with those who say Todd Gurley is the best running back in the draft.  I just don’t think he makes sense for a team with superb blocking.  Though I would definitely be excited if we got Gurley, I’d definitely be worried of encountering a Lynch-Bills situation.

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