Toby Gerhart NFL Draft projections don’t match his resume

Closeup of a leather baseball glove

NFL Draft projections for Toby Gerhart don't seem to match his college results, but for big money he could fall back on baseball. Flickr photo.

Toby Gerhart NFL Draft projections have him being selected in the second or third round. But not everyone agrees with the NFL Draft experts. Conventional NFL wisdom says Gerhart, who led the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns playing for Stanford in 2009, isn’t fast enough or elusive enough to make big money now at the pro level. One columnist even suggested that the doubt about Gerhart’s NFL Draft potential is based on the fact that he’s a white man at a position dominated by black players.

Is Toby Gerhart the next Jim Brown?

Toby Gerhart, a 6-foot, 231-pound power back who ran for 1,871 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, has received the highest praise from Zenni Abraham at sfgate.com. Abraham calls him the “NFL’s 21st Century Jim Brown.” Jim Brown dominated the NFL from 1957 to 1965. In nine 14-game seasons with the Cleveland Browns, he ran over and around people to set a career rushing record (12,312 yards). Years later, it took Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears nine 16-game seasons to break Brown’s record.

NFL Draft: racial stereotypes?

Toby Gerhart NFL Draft projections are colored by racial stereotypes, according to Michael Silver at Yahoo Sports. In Gerhart, Silver said NFL Draft analysts see a white guy trying to make a pay day in the league as a feature back, an achievement rarely made anymore. In 2009, Gerhart won the Doak Walker Award, an honor awarded to the nation’s top college running back. He was runner-up for the 2009 Heisman Trophy to Alabama running back Mark Ingram (who happens to be black) in the closest vote in Heisman history. In Michael Silver’s Trippin Tuesday, Gerhard said:

“One team I interviewed with asked me about being a white running back.They asked if it made me feel entitled, or like I felt I was a poster child for white running backs. I said, ‘No, I’m just out there playing ball. I don’t think about that.’ I didn’t really know what to say.”

Toby Gerhart stats: hard numbers

Toby Gerhart told Silver that as a college junior he ran through tackles attempted by USC’s Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, two players who made the Pro Bowl as rookies. Toby Gerhart stats from the NFL combine show he is a top pro prospect among college running backs. He tied for third in bench press repetitions, fifth in vertical leap, sixth in shuttle and seventh in cones. His 4.50 40 yard dash time was good for a 230-pound bruiser, but 10 players were faster. C.J. Spiller from Clemson had a 4.27 and Auburn’s Ben Tate and Cal’s Javid Best had a 4.34.

Toby Gerhart stats: intangibles

Toby Gerhart did score number one in his Wonderlic score of 30–the equivalent of about a 118 IQ. That result that isn’t surprising, considering he was valedictorian of his high school graduating class. Gerhart’s intelligence and the fact that he recovered from a 2007 knee injury to lead the nation in rushing and touchdowns last season should give NFL Draft analysts a clue about his work ethic and determination to achieve his goals as a professional athlete.

Toby Gerhart NFL Draft projections

Toby Gerhart’s bruising running style leads NFL Draft anayalsts to assume that he won’t hold up to the savage pounding of an NFL season. “The best case is that he gets picked late in the second round, but I don’t see him dropping out of the third round,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said. “He’s never going to be a great third-down player, and it’s hard to justify drafting someone like that in the top 50 or 60.” If he doesn’t get drafted high enough for a big pay day, he need not consider getting personal loans to survive. There’s  always the easygoing sport of baseball. After all, he was one of Baseball America’s top 50 prospects for the 2006 season.

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