Tag Archives: Todd Gurley

LA’s New Son – Todd Gurley

It was October of 2008, the opening night of the 08-09 NBA season. I’m sitting in my friend Jason’s room watching the early game of the TNT double-header. The Boston Celtics were defending champions and were receiving their rings before their tilt with LeBron’s Cavs. Us being Lakers fans, we hated what Boston had did to us in the previous NBA Finals, but yet on some level we still respected them enough to watch their game. It was a back and forth and all of Boston’s Big 3 + Rondo were on point. During the 4th quarter, the most tenured member of the Celtics, Paul Pierce, stepped to the line late. With the crowd cheering raucously, you could see Pierce reveling in the moment, he had just given his faithful their first championship in 22 years, through thick and thin, Pierce was always there. He knew he deserved this moment from the fans. And in that moment watching him I told my friend that it was like he was “Boston’s Son”. A player that the fans had watched grow and mature into not only a legendary Celtic but an all-time great in his own right. The discussion quickly grew into who else fit that label in the NBA. He said Kobe, I said LeBron. Both of us were right, both had stayed their entire careers there (until LeBron left and then returned as the prodigal son in 2014). Kobe had more success so far but LeBron wasn’t too far behind (or so we thought).

Fast forward to today, Kobe Bryant is in his last season with the Lakers. Since 1996 he has held the mantle of LA’s most beloved athlete. Who takes it now? Chris Paul? Sorry but he hasn’t spent the majority of his career here. Blake Griffin? Ummmm, no. Mike Trout plays in Anaheim and Dodger fans won’t go for that. Kershaw could be it but he lacks the dominant playoff performance(s) that equate that blinding loyalty, much like Kobe offered. We can scratch out college teams because the longevity just isn’t enough. So we have a vacant spot for LA’s  new son. Who is the number #1 contender then, besides the names I just mentioned……… Let me spell out the case for Todd Gurley II.

August of 1995, it was my first summer playing tackle football. It was also the first time the city of Los Angeles didn’t have an NFL team. As a native of the Southern California area for all of my 28 years, the news that the Rams are coming back to LA has been plastered with eager anticipation. This city is starved for it, we bought all 58,000 preliminary reserve season-ticket spots. And while the quarterback is usually the golden child for any team, so far the Rams have Case Keenum. What we do have, is reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley.

I first heard about Todd Gurley back in late 2013 and most of 2014 as I have family back in Georgia. My cousin Daniel is a UGA alum who has season tickets to the Dawgs. He has followed Gurley’s path from a 5 star recruit on Rivals.com to a heralded UGA freshman to Georgia legend and finally the NFL. He told me to watch out for Todd Gurley in his true freshman season after a game against Alabama as Gurley put up over 100 yards rushing and brought the Dawgs within 5 yards of an SEC championship, all against a Saban coached defense. In the ensuing years, Gurley’s legend only grew. He checked every box; size, speed, vision, return skills. He was the most complete football player he had ever seen.

I myself had seen a little bit of Gurley but it wasn’t until I got a chance to see him go against my team, the Green Bay Packers (what do you want, LA hasn’t had a team since ’95), that I saw the beginnings of a transcendent talent. Watching Gurley that game and in the remainder of the 2015 season reminded me of 2007 when young Adrian Peterson burst onto the scene. Young AP had that “it” factor when you saw him take a simple swing pass all the way to the house. Gurley was the same when you saw him grind and grind for 3 quarters, and then when everybody’s tired from the punishment he delivers, boom, a 50 yard run. Boom, another 40 yard gain. He got stronger as the game went on. I’ve been watching the NFL since 1995. Only 3 running backs stood out like Gurley did in 2015; Barry Sanders, LaDanian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson. That’s rarified air.

Much like USC Reggie Bush took over the So Cal sports scene in the mid 2000s, I envision Gurley doing the same here with the LA Rams. I see a city so starved for greatness, especially in the sport of football and especially at the running back position. This is the city that gave us O.J. in the 60s, Marcus Allen in the 70s and Eric Dickerson in the 80s. And believe me, all the old guard still hold those names in reverence to this day. With the Rams back in LA and Todd Gurley as its main star, he has a chance to be mentioned among those legends. A chance to be king of this town. And he’s all ours, LA’s new son, #30 Todd Gurley II.


BTL 2015 NFL Season Awards Podcast

To get us through the lull between Championship Sunday and Super Bowl Sunday, the BTL crew got ballots for every major NFL award handed out at the NFL Honors. From Coach of the Year to NFL MVP. We all voted on all of them and came out with a list of the top 5 in every category.

Here is our podcast with Ryan, Tim and myself running down the list of the NFL’s most deserving players in 2015. We vote on the following:

Offensive Rookie of the Year

Defensive Rookie of the Year

Comeback Player of the Year

Coach of the Year

Offensive Player of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year


Enjoy and as always, like and share our podcast!


BTL NFL Mid-Season Awards Podcast

Want to know who’s doing the best coaching job this year? Is the NFL Rookie of the Year award really a no contest?

Check out my buddy Ryan and I debate who are the top three candidates for all the major NFL awards through the first 8 weeks of the season.

NFL Rookie of the Year

NFL Comeback Player of the Year

NFL Coach of the Year

NFL Offensive Player of the Year

NFL Defensive Player of the Year


-Mike Visconti

BTL NFL Draft Primer: Todd Gurley vs Adrian Peterson


by Daniel Visconti

As a season ticket holder for UGA, over the years I’ve had the privilege of watching a future superstar in the NFL every Saturday at “Between the Hedges” in Athens, GA. This incredible athlete jumped over defenders, ran over defenders, ran past defenders, jumped into the end zone from the six yard line and soared past the goal line, complete a 60 yard pass, return kickoffs for touchdowns, and so much more. If it isn’t obvious enough, my favorite player that has ever played at UGA (at least up to this moment in time) is without a doubt Todd Gurley. I had the pleasure of watching one of the most dynamic athletes I’ve ever seen every Saturday. Honestly, even though Nick Chubb is a Heisman Candidate for the 2015 season, you can’t replace a playmaker/athlete/leader like Todd Gurley.

On April 16th, Todd Gurley had his knee medically inspected by the NFL combine doctors. The NFL combine doctors gave Gurley two thumbs up in regards to his progression and when that news spread around the league, everybody’s “Mock Draft” drastically changed. I’ve personally never seen anything like that before. According to the NFL combine doctors, Gurley’s knee will be 100 percent by the time practice starts. Once this news broke out, Gurley went from a late first round pick/early second round pick to a top 10 pick in the draft.

A lot of people might call me crazy, but I want to compare Gurley’s collegiate career to that of Adrian Peterson’s. After doing hours upon hours of research, the similarities between the two phenom’s are mind blowing. Below, I have listen the pros and cons of Adrian Peterson along with his size and speed, and compared the numbers directly against Todd Gurley’s numbers. Once you’re done looking at the comparison, the main question I bet you’ll walk away with today is, “Will Todd Gurley be the next Adrian Peterson in the NFL?” Only time will tell.


• Adrian Peterson- Junior at Oklahoma
• Height- 6’1
• Weight- 220 lbs.
• 40 yard dash- 4.37
• 71 percent of rushing yardage after contact
• 1 receiving touchdown/0 kick-off returns for touchdowns
• Fumbled 17 times out 747 total carries
• Voted second in the Heisman Race
• 42 touchdowns/747 carries
• Average Yards per Carry- 5.4

Had one of the greatest freshman rushing seasons of all-time in 2004. Almost single-handily led the Sooners to a National Championship, only to fall short to the Pete Carroll led USC Trojans at the height of their dominant CFB reign in the mid-2000s. Injuries continued to plague Peterson throughout the remainder of his CFB career. Even leading into the draft where a broken collarbone lead to doubting one of the draft’s most unquestionable talents.

Draft: 1st round, 7th overall of the 2007 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. After the likes of Jamarcus Russell, Gaines Adams, Levi Brown and LaRon Landry.


• Todd Gurley- coming out of college, the follow are Gurley’s physical attributes.
• Height- 6’1
• Weight- 233 lbs.
• 40 yard dash- 4.43
• 61.9 percent of rushing yardage after contact
• 6 receiving touchdowns/2 kickoffs returned for touchdowns
• Fumbled 3 times out of 510 cares.
• Was the favorite to win the Heisman before his NCAA suspension
• 39 touchdowns/510 carries
• Average yards per carry- 6.4 yards

**All six NFL Media analysts who have posted mock drafts project Gurley to go ahead of WISC RB Melvin Gordon — including one mock that has him going No. 6 overall

**NFL Network Analyst Brian Baldinger believes Gurley is the most talented player in the entire draft.

**The evaluator said Gurley rates as the best prospect the league has seen since Peterson came out of Oklahoma.

**To conclude this blog, my prediction is Gurley will be a top 5 back in the league his rookie season. Trying to top Adrian Peterson seems absurd, but if anybody has the talent to do it, it would be Todd Gurley.

Prediction: I believe Todd Gurley will be the 9th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft by the New York Giants.

BTL NFL Draft Primer: The SEC Talent


by Daniel Visconti

-Football is king here in the southeast. It is a religion in the southeast. Personally, I am an alumni from the University of Georgia and I’ve been a season ticket holder ever since graduation. Therefore, if any of the readers out there sense some bias with some of my remarks regarding UGA, please forgive me.

Because I truly bleed red and black, I know about most top notch talent going to play in the SEC before they even graduate high school. As a diehard UGA fan, this has lead me to know everything going on in the SEC. Several months ago I was approached by Mike to write a blog about certain topics/players in the SEC. Since I love college football more than any other sport, I follow the “future phenomes” by constantly checking each prospects game film through the website Rivals100.com. All three of the players listed below I followed since high school. All of these players were 5 star athletes and very highly recruited by almost every team in the country.

This article below I will discuss the top 3 skilled position players in the SEC that are entering the draft. All three of these players will be first round picks and have an impact on the teams that choose them during their rookie season. The three athletes are Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Alabama’s Landon Collins, and Georgia’s Todd Gurley.

Amari Cooper


7th pick of the Draft the Chicago Bears will choose Alabama’s Amari Cooper. Although he’s good enough to be a go to receiver as a rookie in the NFL in my opinion, it makes a lot of sense to me that the Chicago Bears draft Cooper at the number 7 spot. The Bears just parted ways with Brandon Marshall, Cutler’s go to wide out last year. After quite possibly the greatest WR draft class last year, the 2015 class matches up very well and Cooper might be the best prospect in both classes. Therefore, I think it wouldn’t be a smart move to pass up on a talent like Amari Cooper. (On Sunday NFL Countdown, they did a special on how Chris Carter meets up with Amari Cooper to give him advice about being successful in the NFL. Also, Carter stated “Amari Cooper is the best wide receiver to ever play at the University of Alabama. Although Julio Jones, rising superstar in Atlanta came from Alabama, Chris Carter affirmed that he said hands down Amari Cooper was and will be the better wide receiver than Julio Jones.”) Given new head coach, John Fox’s penchant for big receivers, (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker etc.) it only makes sense for the Bears to tandem Alshon Jeffery with Amari Cooper and give the NFC North nightmares about matchup problems for the next 5 years.

Landon Collins


With 20th pick in the draft the Eagles will draft Landon Collins from Alabama. When Collins was a sophomore, a lot of scouts thought that Collins was a better safety than NFL star Clinton Ha Ha Dix. The Eagles are really weak at safety, and Collins is the best safety of the draft. Collins has the following strengths that will surely help him start as a rookie in the NFL:
• Collins is extremely physical
• Collins is great at defending the run. He will take your head off, or break down in the open field and make the sure tackle.
• Collins is very intelligent. He seems to react to plays faster than other players.

All those qualities encompass what you would want from a future all-pro safety. And perhaps none more than the last one. Nick Saban is a notoriously tough and demanding coach. GMs and coaches all around the league pluck from the Alabama draft tree because, yes talent, but also they know that Saban’s players will be able to handle the work load and terminology that a typical rookie struggles with in there first year. Given that Saban is a defensive minded coach with an emphasis in defensive secondary, no draft prospects are more better prepared for the demands to succeed at the next level than Saban’s defensive backs. When you pair that with exponential talent and skills, you get a can’t miss draft prospect.

Todd Gurley


32th pick of the draft the New England Patriots will choose Todd Gurley. This pick to me is exactly what Belichick does. Belichick isn’t going to lose the opportunity of obtaining a “generational talent” like Todd Gurley is over concerns about an injury. Not too long ago, a tight end out of Arizona named Rob Gronkowski fell into the second round because of injury concerns over his back. Fast forward 5 years and Gronkowski is the prototype TE and a generational talent, and all because Belicheck knows talent and a potential matchup nightmare when he sees it.

Gurley is 6’1, 233 lbs., runs a sub 4.5 40, with a 41 inch vertical leap and 12 foot broad jump. Gurley can return kicks, run you over, jump over you, etc. Along with these numbers, Todd Gurley has fantastic hands as he proved he can catch the ball out of the backfield, which is a must to be a starting running back in the NFL. Also, with Gurley’s size and running style, he truly is an NFL ready back who will shine once he gets healthy. What NFL teams want are running backs who can get 25-30 touches a game and be big enough to run between the tackles. This is exactly what Gurley is. It’s easy to forget that Todd Gurley was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy until the autograph scandal and injury cut his season short. Todd Gurley is a GENERATIONAL TALENT and this is why if he isn’t chosen by the Patriots, he will get picked in the first round by somebody.

This wraps up Part I of BTL NFL Draft Primer. Thank you very much for reading my opinion in regards to the top three SEC athletes that will be selected in the first round, and who are capable of having an immediate impact as rookies in the NFL.

-Daniel Visconti reporting from Atlanta, GA.