Scouting Report: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Another little QB that can
Aaron Murray is a quarterback who’s easy to like, and his decision to return for his senior year at Georgia rather than enter the 2013 draft makes him a bit of a rare breed. I think it’s a decision that fewer and fewer people are going to make going forward. And, that’s in no small part to how that decision blew up on Murray himself when he went down with a seriously injured right knee last November.
Murray was unable to work out at the Combine due to his recovery from ACL surgery and when asked about his chances of working out fully at Georgia’s Pro Day, he was optimistic. “That’s the goal right now. I’m pretty much doing everything already, just not full, full speed. We’re continuing to build up, get stronger, get more flexible every day. It feels great, and like I said, by Pro Day, doctors, myself believe I’ll be good to go.” That’s obviously good news and we were already encouraged with Murray’s knee as it was an isolated ACL tear with no damage to the MCL or Meniscus.
When asked what he wanted to show teams at the combine, Murray has this to say. “Just my football smarts, my understanding of offense, my understanding of defenses, explain what we ran at Georgia and how that can help me transition into the NFL a lot easier than other quarterbacks.”
Murray went on to describe the kind of coach that would fit him best. “First off I want a coach that’s going to push me. I want someone that’s going to drive me every single day to improve my footwork, to improve my accuracy, to never be happy with where I’m at because I’m never happy with where I’m at. I’m always looking to find ways to improve. So, just finding a coach that wants to push me, to drive me. And pretty much at Georgia we ran a variety of different formations, spread, Pro I, play action, drop-back, gun, so really I feel like I’m capable of playing any type of offense in the NFL just because, like I said, we were pretty diverse at Georgia.”
This really underscores everything we see on film with Murray. He can flat out play the position and he can do it in just about any offense.
The things we like about Aaaron Murray.
- Feet - Murray has very good feet both in terms of quickness and agility and in terms of his footwork as a quarterback. His good mechanics start here.
- Arm - Aaron has a good solid arm, and he can make all the throws you need him to make, including the deep out. He’s got nice timing and feel on the deep ball too. You will see some limitations when he needs to make pure arm throws, but he’s got enough arm strength to start in the NFL.
- Release - Murray has a picture perfect throwing motion with a nice quick release, especially when he feels pressure.
- Agility - Murray moves well and we had him as a guy who would run between 4.6 and 4.7 if he’d been healthy at the combine.
- Vision - Murray sees the field like a seasoned pro or so it seems. He’s about as NFL-ready as they come in terms of reading the defense and making good decisions on-time.
- Production - The guy started four years in the SEC, and the numbers are impressive. Murray is about as battle-tested as they come. Even in his injury-shortened senior season he threw for 3,075 yards, 26 TDs, and 9 INTs playing in only 11 games. And, he was leading a team absolutely ravaged by injuries. Murray held that team together until he was hurt himself.
- Leadership - Murray is a consistent guy and is well regarded as a teammate and leader. As I mentioned, he is not a guy who falls apart in tough situations. He’s totally in-charge in the huddle.
- Durability - This is both a strength and a weakness. Obviously, you have to be concerned about Murray’s lack of size, especially as it pertains to durability. Then you have the existing injury, which is obviously a significant one. Having said all that, it’s also important to give some credit to the player, because Murray had started 52 straight games prior to the ACL injury. That includes a whole lot of SEC football.
Here’s some high quality video of Murray vs. Alabama in 2012.
So what’s the synopsis? Will we be recommending Murray as aggressively as we’ve recommended other smallish quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel or Russell Wilson? No, we will not. We see Murray as being a bit less durable partially due to his body type and partially due to the major injury he’s already suffered. The bottom line is that, at just over six feet tall and at about 207 pounds, Murray is not well built to take the pounding of the NFL, and he's not as rugged as Wilson or Manziel or as elusive. He's likely to take more unprotected shots than either one of them because he likes to hang in the pocket.
We see Murray as a bit closer to Kellen Moore than Manziel or Wilson. Now, understand that we are big fans of Kellen Moore and we think he can play in the league. We feel strongly that Murray will be an NFL caliber quarterback for as long as he can stay healthy, and he may be able to wrangle a starting gig at some point if he lands in the right place. If Murray finds a team with some weapons that can protect him, he will have a chance at sustained success. I’d like to see him land with a team like the Bengals, Saints or Jets, where he’d be afforded the time to build up his body the way Tom Brady did in New England while Drew Bledsoe was running the show. Actually, New England would be a compelling fit for Murray as well.
My guess is that Murray gets taken in or around the 5th round, and he’d probably go sooner if he was fully healthy. For fantasy football purposes, Murray is not yet a priority unless you play in a really deep long term format. I’ll update Aaron’s status after the draft as I do with all players.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
- Terrance West, RB, Towson
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
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