Gurley intriguing prospect to NFL teams

He’s set to meet with 24 NFL teams and discuss why he thinks he’s the best player in the draft and the autograph-signing caper and give updates on his recovery from knee surgery.

However, only three months after surgery, he will not have his surgically repaired left knee examined by team doctors.

Gurley likely would have been a top-five pick before the injury, but now projects to go late in the first round or early in the second. He thinks he should be the top pick in the draft.

“I’m not here to be No. 5 overall or a second-round pick,” Gurley said. “I want to be the best.”

Gurley, considered the second-best running back in the draft behind Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, was highly productive in the short time he was on the field last season.

He missed four games because of an NCAA suspension for accepting improper benefits, but he averaged 151.8 yards rushing in six games and scored 10 touchdowns. Gurley was lost for the season to a left ACL injury against Auburn on Nov. 15.

“It was kind of sad, but at the end of the day I had to be positive about the injury,” Gurley said. “I had to move on and just let this motivate me to get back and take all the anger out when I get back.”

He plans to fully recover.

“I know what I can do,” Gurley said. “I feel like I can come in and help a team. That might sound ridiculous, but that’s the confidence I have in myself.”

Gurley addressed the autograph issue that led to the suspension.

“Just man up to my mistakes,” Gurley said when asked how he planned to address that issue with NFL teams. “I made a dumb mistake, and I suffered the consequences. …

“I had to move on from that, but just show them that I’m a great person at the end of the day.”

He plans to be more careful when picking his associates.

“That probably was one of the best/worst things that happened to me,” Gurley said. “You definitely want to keep your eyes on a swivel and just watch who you’re around because everybody is not for you. Even though I’d made a dumb mistake, it just makes you think about stuff in the future.”

Gurley, who signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation firm, has been training in Pensacola, Fla.

“I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, being doing light jogging, a little ladder work, a lot of strengthening for the quad and hamstring,” Gurley said. “Some hamstring curls, leg press, squats and all that.”

Georgia’s Pro Day is March 18, but Gurley is not expected to be ready. He hopes to make it back for his part of his rookie season.

“The timetable is six to nine months,” Gurley said. “I got hurt in November, so I’m not really giving no timetable.

I’m just trying to get back safe, but as quick as possible.”

The running-back class is strong this season.

“I think Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley are both first-round backs,” NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “I’ve got second-round grades on (Nebraska’s Ameer) Abdullah, (Miami’s) Duke Johnson, (Indiana’s) Tevin Coleman and the Boise State kid (Jay Ajayi). Third-round grades on (Northern Iowa’s) David Johnson, (Alabama’s) T.J. Yeldon.

“So you can even go into the fourth round with (Minnesota’s) David Cobb, (South Carolina’s) Mike Davis, little bit of an underachiever from South Carolina who is a gifted kid. So there are a bunch of running backs.”

Gordon and Gurley are expected to break the first-round drought for running backs. The position has been devalued around the league, and a running back hasn’t been selected in the first round since the Browns picked Alabama’s Trent Richardson with the third pick in 2012. Three backs were taken in the first round that season.

“I feel like this class is definitely deep for the running back position and we have a lot of talented guys,” Gurley said. “I want to be a No. 1 pick. We’ll see how everything goes. I’m just trying to get my knee back right and just show the teams that I can come back healthy.”

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