Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is simultaneously one of the most overrated and underrated quarterback prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. He doesn't really pass any kind of threshold the NFL generally has for how a quarterback is built, but he has the physical qualities and mental aptitude to be an effective quarterback despite is size limitations, but the big question is how much better will he actually get.
Murray measured in at the NFL combine at 6' and 207 pounds with 9 1/8" hands. All three of those a typical "check mark" red flags when looking at an NFL quarterback. He's too short, too skinny and his hand size can be a bit of a concern.
He finished his college career as the most prolific passer in SEC history, but looking at that list it's not really a who's-who of successful quarterbacks.
Where Aaron Murray Wins
The biggest area Murray wins for me is his anticipation when passing the football. He doesn't have the biggest arm, isn't the most accurate but he knows where he needs to go with the football and can see plays developing. It's a critical skill in being a successful passer in the NFL and Murray is one of the best in the draft as far as throwing with anticipation.
Mechanically Murray also has a quick release when passing the football, combined with his anticipation, allowing him to get the ball where it needs to be quickly. He also has the ability to extend plays with his legs and keeps his eyes downfield while passing the football. He's accurate in the short and intermediate area passing concepts and generally a good decision maker.
Where Aaron Murray Needs To Improve
Some of the biggest flaws with Murray are some things he just can't help. His size is going to knock him big-time when being viewed by NFL teams. It's going to lead to questions about how much better overall he can get and that's something that actually shows up on film when watching him.
Murray has a ton of experience as a starting quarterback in a tough conference, but he seemed to plateau early in his career and when some of the talent fell off his senior year so did his production. It wasn't necessarily a knock on Murray, but it leans more towards his need for help more than his ability to transcend what's around him and speaks to his limited upside.
While Murray is relatively accurate in the short and intermediate area, he really struggles throwing the ball down the field. It showed up a bit on film, but when you look at some advanced metrics by Greg Peshek of Rotoworld, it's pretty glaring. Murray threw the ball over 20 yards less than 10 percent of his throws on the games Peshek charted, which was considerably less than any of the nine quarterbacks he charted. Not only that, but Murray ended up the third least accurate down the field.
In some big games Murray seemed to get rattled early on and make some mistakes trying to force big plays, even in games his team won.
To me, Murray is a nice mid-round quarterback to take a flier on if you have a starter in place already if he checks out medically. He's likely going to fall a bit because he tore his ACL so late in the year and unlike someone like Zach Mettenberger, his mobility is a big part of his overall game. If he checks out medically, I could see a team taking Murray in the late third round, but if they're picking him to be a starting quarterback of the future it's a risk unless you think he can crack the ceiling he's appeared to have already hit.
For the Jaguars sake, I think Murray is a good quarterback to take in the fourth or fifth round as the second quarterback they draft. He reminds me a little but of Chase Daniel but I think he's a guy you can get by with as a starting quarterback for a few weeks without him sinking the team, but not sure he'll ever be a reliable long-term starter in the NFL.
Grade: 6.50, Day 2 pick if medicals check out
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