- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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The past two NFL drafts have come and gone without a running back being selected in the first round, which had never happened in the common draft era, which dates to the NFL-AFL merger in 1967.
Teams are waiting until later in the draft to get their running backs, or maybe there simply haven't been any running backs special enough the past two years for a team to feel like it warranted using a first-round pick.
Nonetheless, the fans on the SEC blog have made their choice for next year, and Georgia running back Todd Gurley has been tabbed as the SEC's top pick in the 2015 draft. With more than 8,400 votes cast in our SportsNation poll, Gurley received 32 percent of the vote.
Texas A&M offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was a close second with 28 percent of the vote. It's getting to the point that we can't have a draft without a Texas A&M offensive tackle going in the first round. Ogbuehi is moving over from right tackle to left tackle to replace Jake Matthews, who was the sixth overall pick this year. Matthews made the same move a year ago to take over for Luke Joeckel, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Alabama receiver Amari Cooper finished third in the poll with 17 percent of the vote followed by Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. with 15 percent and Alabama safety Landon Collins with 8 percent.
Cooper, if he stays healthy, could easily shoot up into top-10 status, especially if he flashes the same kind of production he did as a true freshman. He will be working with a new quarterback, though, as Florida State transfer Jacob Coker is expected to win the job.
The big question with Gurley also is injuries. He was banged up for much of last season. But his size and breakaway speed make him the kind of back NFL teams are looking for.
It's worth noting, though, that LSU's Jeremy Hill has that same kind of size and also showed the ability to break long runs in college and didn't go until the 23rd pick of the second round this year. So we'll just have to see.
Much like Cooper, Gurley was a force as a true freshman. For both players, this is their "money" season.
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