With Todd Gurley in peak form, Rams will likely pass on running backs in the draft

As the Rams prepare for the NFL draft, the Los Angeles Times will examine their roster. Part 8 of 8: running backs.

The reigning NFL offensive player of the year earned some downtime after one of the most productive seasons by a running back in Rams history.

So Todd Gurley enjoyed himself this offseason.

He went skiing for the first time.

“I had to get up out of there after like two days, because you know that after the third day I would’ve thought I’m a professional skier,” he said this week, laughing.

Attending Wrestlemania also ranked among the highlights.

“My first experience there,” he said, “and I really enjoyed that a lot.”

The Rams and Gurley are mutually aware that another tussle of sorts could be on the horizon.

Gurley is preparing for his fourth NFL season. The Rams are expected to exercise their fifth-year option on the No. 10 pick in the 2015 draft, but general manager Les Snead has said that Gurley, quarterback Jared Goff and defensive tackle Aaron Donald are among a “core” of players the Rams want to extend and build around.

In regard to Gurley’s contract — he will make about $4.4 million this season — he said that he tries “not to worry about that too much” and that he would continue to “keep doing what I’m doing.”

“The rest will take care of itself,” he said.

In 2017, Gurley scored a league-best 19 touchdowns, led the Rams in receptions and ignited a team that led the NFL in scoring. Now he is preparing for a second season under coach and play caller Sean McVay.

“Coming off just making the playoffs for the first time in a while, you feel a lot more confident, and you know that the success is there,” Gurley said. “You just have to be able to improve on it. … For [McVay] to be able to be the coach that he is, the cool guy, just the whole staff that we have around him is pretty good for us.

“We know we’re in good hands, and all we have to do is get a little better.”

Running backs under contract: Todd Gurley ($4.4 million), Malcolm Brown ($630,000), Justin Davis ($560,000), Lenard Tillery ($481,000), Sam Rogers ($480,000).

Free agents: The Rams released Lance Dunbar, last season’s free-agent pickup. They like Brown as Gurley’s backup but Davis might have to prove again that he belongs on the roster.

Draft: The Rams have not drafted a running back since taking Gurley with the 10th pick in 2015. They have eight picks but probably will look to fill more pressing needs.

Roster decisions: The Rams are on track to exercise their fifth-year option on Gurley. Brown is in the final year of his contract. Davis is under the Rams’ control through 2019. The Rams could sign a few undrafted free-agent running backs to help carry some of the load during training camp.


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein