Is Ramik Wilson the top 2015 NFL draft prospect playing for Georgia?
That may be hard to fathom for those who have seen tailback Todd Gurley look like a beast for the Bulldogs, but NFL teams have shied away from taking running backs in the first round the last two years.
ESPN’s Todd McShay lists Wilson as the No. 23 overall pick in a “Way-too-early 2015 mock draft.” That’s ahead of Gurley who checks in at No. 30 and is the only first-round running back in his projection.
Wilson, the SEC’s leading tackler last season as a junior, is No. 15 on SI.com’s Chris Burke’s mock. He has Gurley, a rising junior, at No. 30.
“When he is healthy, there is not a more complete, more dangerous back in all of college football,” Burke writes. “Therein lies the rub: Gurley dealt with multiple injuries last season, and still was not 100 percent for spring ball. Given the already rampant concerns about how long RBs can hold up in the NFL, Gurley needs to make it through a full season if he wants a Round 1 spot.”
The first running back selected in each of the last two drafts went in the second round: Bishop Sankey from Washington with pick No. 54 this year and Giovani Bernard from North Carolina with pick No. 37 in 2013. Alabama’s Trent Richardson went No. 3 in 2012 but he was dealt from the Browns to the Colts this past season.
“Todd Gurley of Georgia and Melvin Gordon III with Wisconsin are your two top guys,” ESPN’s Mel Kiper said this week of the 2015 running back crop. “And they’re going to be big-time prospects, particularly Gurley. So it will be interesting to see. He’s going to have a grade similar to Trent Richardson and we’ll see if he goes in the top five, top 10 overall because he’s got that kind of ability, Gurley does. This year we thought there wouldn’t be a running back taken (in the first round), but there were some really good running backs in this draft and some backs that are going to produce right away.”
Kiper expects Sankey to have a nice rookie year with the Tennessee Titans, Jeremy Hill from LSU to contribute to the Bengals and Carlos Hyde from Ohio State to get playing time behind Frank Gore with the 49ers and he liked several other running backs drafted.
Gurley is No. 18 on the mock draft of NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler on CBSSports.com, who notes that Gurley “has everything you want at the position, just needs to stay healthy.” He’s the only Georgia player Brugler lists.
Gurley isn’t the only Georgia underclassmen showing up in mock drafts.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has rising junior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins at No. 25 and Gurley at No. 31.