LeGarrette Blount was arguably the most talented rusher in the 2010 draft class at the time and he arguably still is at the NFL level. Punching out an opponent on the field, however, was one of a few reasons he went undrafted and had to watch teams trade around in the first two rounds to get the rusher they wanted.
One of those trades was between the Vikings and the Texans when the Vikings moved up to get Toby Gerhart. In the moments following the draft there were unconfirmed reports that Blount agreed to an undrafted free agent contract with both the Vikings and the Niners, but he ended up signing with the Titans. He then became the second undrafted rookie to ever run for 1,000 yards when he was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay.
There were other character concerns surrounding Blount in Tampa. There was a report of him leading an attack on a Bucs fan. In 2013, the New England Patriots sent a seventh rounder to Tampa and added Blount to their stable of running backs where he flashed his usual toughness, but often got lost in the mix.
He scored four touchdowns in a playoff appearance with the Patriots which is the second most ever scored by a running back in a post-season game. Some of Blount’s accomplishments surely exceed what Gerhart has done to date, with Gerhart stuck behind Adrian Peterson for most of his four years, and Blount seems to take exception to how contracts were awarded this offseason.
“I was really surprised by it,” Blount told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I didn’t think that the running back market would be so low. I didn’t think that, you know, the biggest contract would be Toby Gerhart’s $10.5 [million]. I didn’t think that would have been the biggest contract. . . . I don’t think that his body of work should have made him the highest paid free agent running back this offseason. We were just trying to get things done, man. Like y’all said the market wasn’t that great but, you know, I feel like I deserve a lot more credibility in the part of getting contracts done. But, I mean, that will all settle itself out, so I’m happy where I landed and I’m going to continue to do what I do best and just try to build on my body of work.”
Blount has a point when it comes to a side-by-side comparison of their production to date. The way I see it is there are three problems with his logic.
First, Gerhart arguably has less wear and tear because of his time spent playing second fiddle to Peterson in Minnesota. Blount has essentially been the featured back for three of his four seasons. Blount has over twice as many career carries (579) as Gerhart does (276).
Second, Gerhart is simply a more complete player. Heck, he must have been pretty good at pass blocking and catching if the Vikings were willing to take their hundred-million-dollar man off the field on so many key third downs. He might not be the flashiest runner in the world, but Vikings fans learned to respect him as a versatile back that usually could be depended on to get the job done.
Third, Gerhart has never been anything but a model citizen. Blount comes with baggage. That’s just a fact.
The Steelers should have a lot of optimism about their new running back duo, they really should, but Blount’s picking on Gerhart makes him look just petty and unclassy. The Jaguars, however, should be thrilled to have a talented workhorse at their disposal that is highly unlikely to be making offseason headlines because he can’t keep his mouth shut.