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The atmosphere is ripe for a running back rivalry in Los Angeles, but fellow 2015 first-round picks Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon don't seem interested in sizing each other up now that they'll be playing for the same city.
"It's what you guys make it," Gordon told 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."
Their tale of the tape is catnip for sportswriters in the area looking to drum something up. Both were considered excellent running back prospects in the draft and both made the case for being the first one selected. Gurley went 10th, Gordon went 15th. Gurley had a spectacular rookie season with 1,106 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 4.8 yards per carry before a steep dropoff in 2016. Gordon had a disappointing 2015 before breaking out in 2016 with 997 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 419 receiving yards.
Now, both are entering a bit of uncharted territory. We have a general idea of what an Anthony Lynn offense looks like and a very good idea of what a Ken Whisenhunt offense does. The combination could end up being extremely beneficial for Gordon given Lynn's ability to provide more second-level opportunities for LeSean McCoy as offensive coordinator in Buffalo. With the Rams, there is a bit more mystery. Can Jared Goff take the kind of pressure off a running game that Philip Rivers can over time? Will Sean McVay's offense accentuate Gurley's best qualities, as McVay promised a few weeks ago?
Far more interesting than some non-consequential intra-city rivalry, though, is another year of data and observation. This has been a regenerated first-round running back market over the past two years with Gurley, Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott all getting selected in the top 15. This year, draft experts are projecting three more running backs to be taken in the first round with draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah projecting two -- Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey -- going in the top 10.
The first round of the draft, for those wondering, takes place on Thursday, April 27 in Philadelphia.
After the Trent Richardson implosion of 2012, teams stayed away from a first-round running back for two straight drafts before Gurley and Gordon broke through. Thanks to their play over the first two seasons, it now seems acceptable again to aim high at the position despite its notoriously short shelf life.