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Players maintain respect for Todd Gurley

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Even after a poor season, Gurley is one of the most popular backs with players around the league

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Leading the NFL in touchdowns in both 2017 and 2018 was enough for Todd Gurley to be voted by his peers as the fifth-best player in the Top 100 poll a year ago. Perhaps more surprising is that it was also enough to keep Gurley ranked pretty highly in spite of having the worst season of his career since his rookie campaign second season.

While many speculated that Gurley would not be ranked at all after he finished 20th in rushing yards and 37th in yards per carry with the Los Angeles Rams last year, he actually came in 51st, between Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones.

The announcement was met with lots of ridicule online from fans who wondered how he could still be there without a single 100-yard rushing game on his resume last season.

Gurley rushed for 857 yards on 3.9 yards per carry with three fumbles, also seeing his receiving yardage tumble by nearly two-thirds its total from 2018. But he did score another 14 touchdowns and while this list is meaningless — meaningless — it indicates that players do not believe that running backs do not matter.

Mark Ingram, 30, was ranked 44th. Alvin Kamara, who saw his touchdowns go down by 12 and his fumbles go up by three last season, was still ranked 42nd.

One could also reasonably assume that at least six running backs not yet named could be in the top 40. So while running backs continue to field some of the lowest salaries and make fewer appearances in the first round, their teammates seem to think highly of them. Even when it makes no sense to many, if not most, others.