When Jeff Fisher and Les Snead selected Todd Gurley with the 10th overall selection of the 2015 NFL Draft, fans were polarized. Where 3k was against the pick, I was for it. That pretty much summed up each and every Rams fan. There was no middle ground, you either hated the move or you loved it.
Over the course of the past 15 months, we've learned a lot about what Gurley can and can't do. Unfortunately it seems both 3k and I were right about the Gurley pick. While he balled out in his rookie year, the Rams are no closer to making the playoffs - and the offense finished dead last in yards. Not exactly what Jeff Fisher and Co. hoped for.
As of now, it seems a bit optimistic that the Rams' offense will approach mediocrity next season. Using 2015 stats as a reference, the Minnesota Vikings finished 16th in scoring (which works well for the Rams comparison) at 22.8 PPG. The Rams scored 17.5 PPG. That's a big jump for a team with next to no receiving options and a (presumptive) rookie QB.
The unfortunate part of this equation is that the Rams ranked 7th (122.3 YPG) in rushing last season. Jeff Fisher has the run game he so desperately desires, but the Rams still had the NFL's most putrid offense (somewhere 3k is chuckling as I'm making his argument for him).
Even if Gurley goes off for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns - which is a significant jump of 400 yards and 5 TDs - the Rams wouldn't climb the charts significantly. The Rams need to find a competent passing game quickly, or Todd Gurley is going to start feeling a lot like Steven Jackson did with the Rams.
With the focus on Tre Mason now centered on off-field pursuits, Gurley's role seems to be only growing. Benny Cunningham has developed into an excellent change-of-pace back and is shaping up to be the only other player to be taking any amount of significant snaps at RB. Malcolm Brown might carve out a niche role, but the vast majority of the carries will be going to Gurley.
I'll start by saying that I don't expect Gurley to single handedly make the Rams offense relevant again. He's not a QB. He's not a WR. He isn't capable of competently playing LT.
Is he one of the best RBs in the NFL? Absolutely. But it's irrational to think that he can fix the Rams offensive woes without help in the passing game. Anyone who thinks that needs to take their rose colored glasses off and evaluate the facts.
That being said, all Rams fans expect Gurley to make a legitimate run at a rushing title in 2016. With all do respect to Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, and Aaron Donald.... Gurley is the first legit MVP candidate the Rams have had since Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.
It's tough to put this on a 21 year old kid, but anything less than 1200 yards and 10 TDs would be a disappointment.
Chances of Making Final Roster (∞/10)
Entering his Sophomore season in the NFL, Todd Gurley IS the Rams. Anyone who thinks this is up for conversation is delusional.