After the Los Angeles Rams took running back Todd Gurley with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, many doubted the impact he could have after coming off of a season-ending ACL injury at Georgia. Not only did he prove the doubters wrong, he turned heads across the league, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro honors in the process.
However, among all the honors awarded to Gurley, perhaps his biggest one was receiving comparisons from his childhood idol himself, Adrian Peterson. While Gurley was voted in at No. 22 on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2016, Peterson shared a few words about the young Rams workhorse during his highlight reel:
“The way he runs, he runs physical and hard. Todd Gurley, he’s a back that I see a lot of myself in when I first came in. Strong, physical, north, south type player. He was a young guy that really caught my attention.”
Gurley joined the NFL Network crew to discuss being compared to his childhood idol:
From growing up watching @AdrianPeterson,
to being compared to AD by AD himself.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 23, 2016
Aside from being that rare combination of tremendous speed and power that really only comes once every decade, both Gurley and Peterson have shown the mental toughness it takes to bounce back from devastating injury. After Peterson went down with a torn ACL in 2011, he bounced back by winning league MVP and coming just a first down away from breaking Rams running back Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record.
Being compared to arguably the greatest running back of this generation is certainly not a bad way to start a career. Other players across the league feel the same way, voting Gurley as the second-best running back in the league behind guess who? Adrian Peterson, who would later appear on this list at No. 5.