Veteran running back Todd Gurley wouldn’t initially seem to be a natural fit for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s fallen on hard times since dominating for the Los Angeles Rams from 2015-19.
Meanwhile, the Ravens have an abundance of running backs. That includes young stud J.K. Dobbins after the former second-round pick performed well as a rookie. Baltimore also just signed former undrafted free agent Gus Edwards to an extension and has Justice Hill still on the roster.
With all of that said, adding a veteran presence in the backfield could very well make sense for the run-first Ravens as they look to unseat the two time conference champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC. That’s why Gurley is currently meeting with Baltimore in the lead up to training camp. Here’s three reasons why a marriage would work.
Todd Gurley has a track record of success
Still only 26 years old, Gurley was among the most-productive running backs in the NFL from 2015-19. That span saw him average nearly 1,500 total yards and 14 touchdowns per season with the Rams. He fell on hard times in 2020 with the Atlanta Falcons due to knee issues that pre-dated his NFL career. That season saw Gurley average a mere 3.5 yards per rush while putting up just 842 total yards.
Even then, there’s every reason to believe that the former NFL Offensive Player of the Year and two-time All-Pro can succeed in a backfield-by-committee approach. He’s no longer going to be a three-down back. Gurley knows that full well. The Ravens do, too.
Todd Gurley adds another element to the Ravens’ offense
Despite his struggles with Atlanta a season ago, Gurley was still able to rack up nine touchdowns on 220 touches. He remains a short-yardage and red-zone force. Outside of Lamar Jackson’s dominating rushing performances of the past two seasons, it’s something the Ravens have not had on offense.
Remember, Gurley led NFL running backs in total touchdowns in 2017 (19) and 2018 (21). Heck, he scored 14 times in his final season with the Rams in 2019 before being shockingly released. This would add another element to the Ravens’ rushing attack.
Injuries are always the name of the game
You can never have an over-abundance of running backs in today’s NFL. Outside of the select few, we simply don’t see backs carry the ball 300-plus times in a season. Only Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook accomplished that feat a season ago. Of the top-10 backs in terms of rush attempts in 2020, only Henry played in all 16 games.
There’s a good chance that injuries will pop up when it comes to both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. Heck, they don’t have the track record of shouldering the load on offense. Dobbins carried the ball 134 times as a rookie a season ago. Edwards has not attempted more than 144 rushing attempts in any of his first three NFL seasons.
Adding Todd Gurley to the mix would provide a Super Bowl-contending Ravens team with the insurance that it needs in the backfield. Who knows? He could catch lightning in a bottle and return to 2018 form. It’s a high-reward, low-risk proposition.