Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
Projected Pick: 9
An electrifying player with blazing speed, size and agility, Gurley, a world-class sprinter and three-sport high school standout (football, track/field, basketball) served a four-game suspension in 2014 for accepting $3,000 in improper monetary benefits for signed memorabilia, a violation of NCAA rules. Beyond this offense, which he promptly admitted to committing, there are no other reported incidents of misconduct for what many regard as the most versatile offensive weapon in this draft class. Having paid for this lone transgression by returning all funds and performing 40 hours of community service, interested teams will undoubtedly perform their due diligence to ensure this is an isolated incident and not indicative of a troubling pattern. But in doing so they will also find his 2014 Heisman Trophy candidacy, 2012 Second-team All-SEC and Freshman All-American accolades. Maybe those will quell any concerns.
The inexact science that is the NFL Draft inherently brings a measure of risk in every selection for all seven rounds. While every draftee possesses the essential physical attributes to play at the next level, it’s becoming increasingly clear that quality of character no longer takes a backseat when decisions are made in the war room.