Having tied himself to the Los Angeles Rams with a $60 million contract extension, Gurley has the chance to prove any doubters of his value to join the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson and Adrian Peterson.
After winning the Offensive Player of the Year award for his 2017 campaign, Todd Gurley has the NFL on notice. It was a major improvement over his sophomore slump the year before, but if he stumbles in Year 2 in Sean McVay’s offense, he may still join some elite company.
As the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2015, Gurley’s game log lit up with 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. His production dipped under 900 yards and only 6 touchdowns the next year.
If he at least matches that production, his name will be etched next to Tomlinson and Peterson as the only running backs to rush for at least 850 yards and 6 touchdowns each of their first four seasons since 2000. Gurley would be the youngest in the club at 24 years old.
Tomlinson’s streak spanned eight seasons while Peterson’s stopped at six when he was suspended for the 2014 season.
Historically, there aren’t many other running backs to match that production. The only other members of the club are Jim Brown Earl Campbell, Terrell Davis, Tony Dorsett, Cookie Gilchrist, Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, and Emmitt Smith.
Of those ten, Gilchrist and Watters are the only players not in the Hall of Fame. Gilchrist’s NFL career was cut short after spending six seasons in the CFL, and Watters has frequently been discussed to be inducted into Canton.
How the rest of Gurley’s career shakes out can’t be predicted with any real accuracy but his upcoming season sets him up nicely.
He’s currently projected as the top fantasy football player, certainly predicting another season near the top of the leaderboards across the league.
Time to earn that paycheck, Mr. Gurley.