According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Baltimore Ravens are hosting running back Todd Gurley for a visit on Thursday, the second team to have shown interest in the former first-team All-Pro in the past month.
Not long ago, it seemed like a good bet that the Detroit Lions would ink Gurley, having hosted him on a visit in May. Keep in mind that Detroit’s general manager, Brad Holmes, was the Rams’ Director of College Scouting when the then-St. Louis Rams drafted Gurley No. 10 overall in 2015. Never mind that the Lions acquired former Rams quarterback Jared Goff in a blockbuster trade back in January. Yet the Lions seem content to take a wait-and-see approach, opening the door for new suitors to emerge.
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Baltimore is Already Loaded at Running Back
On the one hand, the Ravens would seem to be an unlikely match for Gurley, as Baltimore is already stacked at the running back position, beginning with rising (second-year) star J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the latter of whom was signed to a two-year contract extension earlier this week. So it’s possible that the Ravens view Gurley as a veteran insurance policy, in case injuries require them to tap into their between-the-tackles depth. Another possibility is the Ravens are thinking of using Gurley as a situational back—on third downs and near the goal line.
Of course, Gurley is inevitably going to have to accept a backup role at this point in his career, despite the fact that he is still only 26 years old. Fact is, injuries and a reportedly arthritic knee have slowed him considerably since his first-team All-Pro days with the Los Angeles Rams.
Gurley Was Named NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2017
Last season he averaged just 3.5 yards per carry on a career-low 195 carries for the Atlanta Falcons, though he did manage to score nine rushing touchdowns. But that’s a far cry from the numbers he produced during his three Pro Bowl seasons with the Rams, including 2017, when he was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year after recording 279 carries for 1,305 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns while adding 64 receptions for 788 yards and six touchdown catches.
Arguably his best NFL season came in 2018, when Gurley was named first-team All-Pro for a second consecutive year after gaining 1,251 yards on just 256 carries while scoring 17 rushing touchdowns. Never mind the 59 receptions for 580 yards and four touchdown catches.
It’s worth noting, though, that Gurley—who turns 27 in August—is a Baltimore native and reportedly grew up a Ravens fan. In addition to Dobbins and Edwards, Baltimore’s running backs room also includes 2019 fourth-round pick Justice Hill and first-year player Ty’Son Williams (Brigham Young), plus Nate McCrary, an undrafted free agent rookie out of Saginaw Valley State.
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