St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley is the most important rookie to watch


With the St. Louis Rams training camp approaching quickly, it is time for the Rams and their fans to see if what looks to have been a strong draft can begin to reap dividends. It is fairly obvious looking at this draft class that St. Louis is making a firm commitment to running the football and attempting to dictate the game through the rushing attack.

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However, which rookie looks to be the guy with the greatest chance to impact this team in 2015? First let’s look at the top candidates.

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Todd Gurley, running back

Rob Havenstein, offensive tackle

Jamon Brown, offensive guard

Andrew Donnal, offensive tackle

Cody Wichmann, offensive guard

One way or another, the right side of the St. Louis offensive line is going to be rebuilt, and should show steady improvement. There are essentially the four rookies competing for the two spots on the right side. However, because the Rams seems to have some nice options for those two spots, none of them stand out as the guy for the 2015 season.

So that can only leave former Georgia star running back Todd Gurley as the rookie to watch for the 2015 NFL season. It seems somewhat unlikely that a play who may or may not be ready to play when the season opens could be the most important of this group, but when you commit a first-round pick to a playing coming off of a knee injury, it is a calculated risk and one that has to pay off. It isn’t common in recent drafts that a running back go in the first round, so that risk is increased exponentially taking one with the No. 10 overall pick.

May 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley (30) looks on during rookie minicamp at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no denying that Gurley is an incredible talent. His mix of size and speed is the sort of thing that legends are made of. If the Rams are going to be successful this year a key has to be winning on first down.

Creating manageable second and third is going to be vital to improve a scoring offense that was No. 21 in the league in 2014, and rushing offense that was No. 20.

I think it is safe to assume that Gurley won’t be at full strength to start the season. There’s a real chance that his participation at training camp will be limited.

And while running back Tre Mason can carry the load in the interim, Gurley on the field is what is going to make this offense run. The Rams have made a ton of moves this offseason, but they all hinge on Gurley being at the top of his game.

What’s realistic for Gurley as a rookie? If we assume that he gets 12 or 13 games of action healthy, he has a ton of promise. Something in the neighborhood of 825 rushing yards, 275 receiving yards and eight total touchdowns isn’t out of the question.

The key is going to be the second half of the season. As Gurley gets healthy, and the offensive line continues to gel, we will really get a taste of what the future of this offense holds.

Next: How Do The Other Rams RBs Stack Up?

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