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Great does not make Todd Gurley right for the Arizona Cardinals

A completely healthy Todd Gurley will be a great player in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals should not draft Todd Gurley.

This is the time of year when I write about different players I’ve seen in college football and who fits the Arizona Cardinals. I love Todd Gurley. He’s elusive enough to avoid contact but has no problem seeking contact when short yards are needed. Gurley doesn’t shy away from protecting the quarterback. He runs hard on every play.

Gurley is coming off of a bad knee injury (ACL) and there’s no way to predict how healthy he’ll be. There are examples like Adrian Peterson, Willis McGahee and Marcus Lattimore. Although each’s injury was slightly different, all had different levels of recovery from college. Peterson was considered an injury risk out of Oklahoma, suffered no significant injuries early in his pro career, and recovered from his own ACL tear in 2011 enough to win a 2012 MVP. McGahee destroyed his knee in college and, despite rehabbing and sitting out his entire first season in Buffalo, still rushed for 1,000 yards four times in a 10-year career. Lattimore was drafted but never recovered from his college injury, never played a down in the NFL and is currently hoping to collect on an insurance policy.

Gurley could end up anywhere on the recovery schedule, from Hall of Famer to career-less. For a franchise that is in contention for a conference championship, Arizona cannot wait for Gurley to recover. If the Cardinals were a year or two away, I’d be screaming to draft Todd Gurley. His recovery would coincide right when Arizona hit their upswing. This is not the case.

Due to the ages of Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald, waiting until 2017 to get the best from Todd Gurley makes no sense. If the best player on the board when Arizona selects is a pass rusher or a defensive back, take him. If the best player on the board is Todd Gurley, accept the fact he’ll do great things for another team a few years from today.

Any player drafted by Arizona in the first three rounds of the 2015 NFL draft needs to check three boxes:

1) Does that player love and respect the game?
2) Does that player hate to lose?
3) Will that player help the Cardinals win the NFC West in 2015?

If the answer is “no” or “not sure yet” to any of those questions, then I’m sure that player should not be a Cardinal.

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