NFL Hot Press: Todd Gurley to Visit Texans

Todd Gurley to Visit Texans

Updated April 8, 2015
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

For months, Walt and I have slotted Georgia running back Todd Gurley to the Texans in our mock drafts (click here for my mock or here for Walt’s mock draft.) Many Houston fans have objected to the projection because the team already has an excellent running back in Arian Foster. However, per sources, Gurley will take a pre-draft visit to Houston. Teams are only allowed to host 30 non-local players on pre-draft visits, so the Texans bringing in Gurley is significant.

The Texans selecting Gurley at No. 16 overall makes sense in short-term and long-term planning of the team. Houston is likely to miss out on the top three wide receiver prospects, and there won’t be an inside linebacker available worthy of the 16th-overall pick. Running back is a need for Houston, as its offense figures to be dependent on a potent rushing attack as the team enters the season with Ryan Mallett or Brian Hoyer as its starting quarterback.

Foster turns 29 during training camp and has had durability issues during his career, so adding another elite runner makes sense. Last year, he missed a few games and couldn’t finish a few others and that played a significant role in the Texans just missing out on the playoffs despite Houston’s weakness at quarterback. With a two-headed monster at running back and one of the best defenses in the NFL, the Texans could have enough around the quarterback to make a run into the playoffs.

If Foster were to go down in the preseason or in Week 2, for example, Houston’s season would be in dire straits without another dynamic back to turn to. Gurley could extend the career and effectiveness of Foster by lessening his work load. In a couple of years, Gurley could replace Foster as the sole, primary runner.

Gurley averaged 7.4 yards per carry in 2014 on his way to 911 yards with nine touchdowns. He also made 12 receptions for 57 yards before tearing his ACL in November against Auburn. The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Gurley is extremely fast while also being very powerful. He will be busy in the final weeks before the draft as a number of teams will want to examine his knee and determine how far along he is in his rehab. Sources say that there are optimistic projections of Gurley being ready at the start of training camp, which is a fast recovery from an ACL. At least with Houston, Gurley wouldn’t have pressure to come back too quickly with a veteran like Foster in place.

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