Over the last 7-8 months we have heard a wide range of comparisons for Todd Gurley. This has left many with the feeling that he's incomparable. When making comparisons for rookies the one thing to remember is you are not looking at what type of career the player will have, but just the skill set and/or playing style of the player.
Because of his size and speed there have been a lot of Adrian Peterson comparisons. Both players are roughly 6'1" 220+ lbs. Both players are also capable of hitting another gear at the next level. However there are some things that stand out that separates the two. The first thing is agility. Gurley isn't as shifty of a runner as Peterson. AD can and will shake the socks off of the defender. This isn't something that you should expect from Gurley. He's more of a down hill runner, than a quick twitch guy.
Peterson also has some of the rarest acceleration the NFL has ever seen. There's few players that can compare to him in that area. Above all else, Peterson's vision is arguably the best in the league. He finds holes before they even open. For these reasons I do not see Gurley as being on the same level as Peterson.
Gurley has some pretty good leg drive. Those damn tree trunks just keeps moving and moving and moving. He has a lot of power and balance. He does not get knocked off his feet easily due to that power and balance. This trait has drawn Marshawn Lynch comparisons. Lynch is a different type of animal, hence the nickname "beast mode." His tackle breaking ability will go down as some of the best the NFL has ever seen. He looks to punish defenders which is something I don't see much of from Gurley. While Gurley breaks tackles, it has more to do with him just simply bouncing off of the would-be tackler like a pinball, due to his power and balance.
There are a few things that Marshawn is really good at that go unnoticed, or is overshadowed by his impressive tackle breaking. His agility and receiving skills are very impressive. When you expect it the least, Lynch will opt to make a true ankle breaking move in the open field and leave the defender in the dust. As for his receiving skills, you just dont see many - if any - dropped balls. He catches balls from the back field, slot, and out wide. It's a very impressive skill set. For these reasons I do not see Gurley as being on the same level as Lynch.
To be perfectly honest Gurley is nearly incomparable. However, there is one player that comes to mind every time - no matter what - when I watch him. I said it his freshman year and the thought continues to pop up. I would always try to avoid this name because of just how high praise it is in my eyes. That name is Ricky Williams. I have always viewed Williams as the second greatest college running back of all time, behind only Barry Sanders. Gurley is slightly taller, and has better top end speed, though I'd say Ricky has better burst. Overall, I have seen Ricky since the first day I watched a Georgia game that Gurley played in. Now clearly he didnt have the type of collegiate career Ricky had, but the style and ability were so similar I was pretty shocked. In fact I was in denial until about half way through his sophomore season.
Ricky Williams went on the NFL to be one of the most impressive and feared runners of all time due to his aggressive downhill style of running, game breaking speed, and his pinball like tackle-breaking. Now, this is not a prediction of careers, but for Williams to finish his career with over 10,000 yards rushing after missing years of football is impressive. It leaves one to think what he could have done if not for the suspensions, retirements, and injuries. But thats another story for another day.
So there you have it folks, thats my comparison. Comment below and share yours!