After a break of a few years, running backs returned to the first round of the NFL Draft when Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon were taken in the top 15 picks in 2015.
That created a link between the two backs that got stronger over the last year. Gurley and the Rams moved to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and Gordon’s Chargers will be there in 2017 ahead of the two teams becoming co-tenants at a new stadium in Inglewood. That may lead some to rank the two backs in relation to one another, although Gordon won’t be putting himself in that group.
“It’s what you guys make it,” Gordon said, via ESPN.com. “At the end of the day, we’re both going out there trying to be the best back and trying to prove that we’re the best back. It’s not just Todd that I have to worry about — there’s a lot of great backs that I’m trying to beat and outshine. So there’s more to focus on than just Todd. I know there’s going to be a lot on that just because he’s up the street from me. But I go out there and I do what I need to do, and that will talk for itself.”
Gurley was the more productive back when the two players were rookies, but Gordon had a better showing in 2016 while Gurley slumped along with the rest of the Rams. Gurley will be in a new offense this year while the Chargers retained offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after firing Mike McCoy. Their new head coach Anthony Lynn helped put together a strong rushing attack in Buffalo, which may bode well for continued progress in Gordon’s third season.
There will be no shortage of fronts to the battle for L.A. football fans over the next few years, but winning games should loom large and putting together the better ground game will be a good way to accomplish that task.