ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams picked Todd Gurley of Georgia with the 10th overall pick of the NFL draft Thursday night, making him the first running back taken in the first round since 2012.
The Rams opted to get backfield help for new quarterback Nick Foles instead of addressing a thin offensive line. The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Gurley is coming off left knee surgery last November after being suspended for four games earlier in the season for a violation of NCAA rules.
Tre Mason, a third-round pick last year, led the Rams with 765 yards rushing and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.
Gurley was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and got off to a strong start before the suspension, and was injured in his first game back. He ran for 911 yards and nine touchdowns in six games, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. The four-game suspension in October was for taking $3,000 for autographed memorabilia and other items over two years.
In his first two seasons at Georgia, Gurley ran for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher is entering the fourth year of a five-year deal he got after taking one year off. In his last 10 seasons, he's produced two winning teams. He and general manager Les Snead have yet to turn around the Rams, winning seven games each of the first two seasons and backsliding to 6-10 in 2014.
They have just two starters back on the offensive line, tackle Greg Robinson and guard Rodger Saffold. They could still re-sign tackle Joe Barksdale, an unrestricted free agent. Two veterans, tackle Jake Long and center Scott Wells, were released after the season due to injury issues.
The Rams had six picks, less than a full allotment after totaling 28 selections the previous three years as the Robert Griffin III trade with Washington helped the team rebuild the roster.
The Rams have a pick in every round except for the fifth, sent to Philadelphia in the quarterback swap of Foles for Sam Bradford. St. Louis owns the Eagles' fourth-round pick as part of the deal. They sent their fourth- and sixth-round picks to Tampa Bay for safety Mark Barron and got a sixth-round compensatory pick.