Falcons top 10 breakout season players in 2020: Todd Gurley 

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Editor's note: This is the third story in a 10-part series counting down the top 10 Atlanta Falcons players our writers believe are most likely to have a breakout season in 2020. The definition of breakout, for the purpose of this list, is a player who shows sudden significant improvement.

The 2020 season is a make-or-break season for Todd Gurley. 

Gurley, 25, has been one of the league's best running backs over the last three seasons. Depending on his durability, the addition of the former first-round pick could be exactly what gets the Falcons' rushing attack on track. 

After back-to-back seasons without trips to the playoffs, the Falcons are hoping the addition of the three-time Pro Bowler will help get the team back to playing playoff football in January.

With Gurley signing a one-year contract worth a reported $6 million, the stage has been set for a breakout season.

TOP 10 BREAKOUT SEASON COUNTDOWN

Body of work

As Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said in May, there's no question whether Gurley can still play. The question is more so centered around Gurley's workload and what that will look like.

Gurley's health became a headline after a report surfaced in 2019 stating the running back has arthritis in his knee. Questions began to arise after Gurley saw a decrease in carries in 2019 with 223 carries for 857 yards. In 2018, Gurley rushed for 1,251 yards on 256 carries, down 23 carries from the 2017 season.

Prior to his final season in Los Angeles, Gurley was a force to be reckoned with because of his ability to be a weapon in the Rams' running and passing game. Following the 2017 season in which he led the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,093 on 343 touches, Gurley was named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year.

He followed up his career-year with another productive season in 2018 when he rushed for 1,251 yards on 256 carries and scored a league-leading 17 touchdowns on the ground. Gurley continued to have an impact in the Rams' passing game adding 59 catches for 580 yards and four touchdowns.

Poised for a breakout

Gurley said "it was perfect timing" to join the Falcons and is ready for a fresh start. And he's right; the timing couldn't be better for both.

After finishing the 2019 season ranked No. 30 out of 32 in the run game, the Falcons need Gurley to help ignite this part of their offense.

The responsibility of improving the run game won't rest solely on Gurley's shoulders, though. Atlanta will rely on Ito Smith, Brian Hill and Qadree Ollison to share the load. This trio combined for 451 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Gurley believes his best football is still in front of him and he'll have every chance to prove that in 2020.

We are counting down the top 10 Falcons players our writers believe are most likely to have a breakout season in 2020. The definition of breakout, for the purpose of this list, is a player who shows sudden significant improvement.

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