There were plenty of questions surrounding Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray entering his pro day workout on Wednesday. While some of them may persist, the SEC's all-time leading passer looked healthy and polished.
Murray suffered a torn ACL in November, and returning in time for Georgia's pro day seemed ambitious, to say the least. Even so, Murray was able to get to this point through hard work and determination, and he made the most of his opportunity in front of NFL talent evaluators.
Although Murray hasn't been mentioned in the same breath as first-round quarterback prospects such as Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr, his collegiate success matched or bettered all of them.
The injury obviously didn't help Murray's draft stock, but he aimed to show scouts that health wasn't an issue, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.
The one thing is just that I'm healthy. That I look good, that I feel good. Right now I have no limitations at all. I'm running, jumping, cutting, doing full drops, rollouts to the right, left, throwing on the run. It looks natural, it feels natural, there's no hitch in my step. I feel awesome. That's the one thing I want them to see that, 'He’s ready to go, he looks great.'
Murray didn't have an opportunity to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, so Wednesday's pro day was essentially his only chance to show teams what he can do aside from game tape.
Despite his combine absence, Murray opted against partaking in the traditional combine drills such as the 40-yard dash. Per Weiszer, Murray didn't feel as though he was prepared to excel in those areas after missing so much time.
"These guys train months to do that stuff and I haven't trained to do that, so I really don't feel I need to go out there and do it," Murray said. "We'll have agility drills for me to do, and obviously all my drops, so everyone will see me moving around."
Murray's sole focus was on his passing performance, and it certainly felt as though most of the scouts in attendance were there to monitor Murray as well.
According to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph, all but nine NFL teams sent representatives to Georgia's pro day:
There are 23 NFL teams represented at UGA pro day, the school reports.— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) April 16, 2014
Murray had the disadvantage of working out with a bulky knee brace in tow, as seen in this photo, courtesy of Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani, but it didn't appear to impact his movement:
Although Murray decided not to run the 40-yard dash, he still showed those in attendance that running wasn't an issue just five months removed from a torn ACL:
Murray just jogged right by me. Showing no ill effects of his knee injury.— Sanjay Kirpalani (@skirp1) April 16, 2014
Murray certainly wanted to showcase his talents, but he did so in a more traditional way than Johnny Football did at his pro day a couple of weeks ago. Manziel interestingly worked out in pads and a helmet, but Murray stuck with shorts and a T-shirt, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Murray put himself in a position to succeed, as he knew exactly what to expect on Wednesday. As seen in this photo, all 54 of Murray's passes were scripted:
Perhaps Murray didn't blow away scouts, but what he was able to accomplish was hugely impressive considering the significance of his injury.
As seen in this video courtesy of the Athens Banner-Herald Instagram account, Murray had no apparent issues in terms of dropping back and uncorking passes:
Murray had particularly good synergy with Arthur Lynch as evidenced by this Vine:
Both men may very well have bolstered their draft stock with fine performances:
Aaron Murray not missing on many throws and Arthur Lynch not missing many catches. Both seem to be having a good day.— Seth Emerson (@SethEmerson) April 16, 2014
Even though the conditions weren't necessarily ideal for long passes, Murray showed great arm strength throughout his workout:
Despite a brisk wind, Murray's deep balls haven't fluttered. Pretty sharp despite a few drops about 25 passes in #UGAProDay— Sanjay Kirpalani (@skirp1) April 16, 2014
Murray's showing wasn't groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, but he did everything that he needed to do:
Workout is over. My first impression is that Aaron Murray had a pretty good day. Made all the throws and shows great mobility. #UGAProDay— Sanjay Kirpalani (@skirp1) April 16, 2014
In fact, he may have exceeded expectations in many ways regarding his movement:
Just overheard a scout who walked by when asked about Murray ... "Looked good, good mobility" with a kinda surprised look on his face— Sanjay Kirpalani (@skirp1) April 16, 2014
Where will Aaron Murray be selected in the 2014 NFL draft?
Murray isn't the type of quarterback who is going to do a ton of damage with his legs at the next level, but he showed decent escapability in the college ranks.
Since Murray doesn't have prototypical quarterback size, mobility is something that he'll need to have in his tool belt. Murray flashed that skill on Wednesday, and one can only assume that improvements will be made the further removed he is from the knee injury.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com broke down Murray's pro day:
Murray — who has 9 1/8-inch hands — threw 54 passes at the pro day, with just two that would be considered not catchable. He showed good velocity on the ball, but toward the end of the workout it appeared as if his arm got tired. His knee looked stable, but he did wear a brace on it.
Murray — whose mother and father were both present to watch the workout — had a very good pro day. He’s a not-get-too-high or not-get-too-low type of player. If there’s a run on quarterbacks in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, he could wind up being selected in that round.
This was a great first step for Murray, and even though it didn't vault him to first-round status, he is a definite candidate to come off the board at some point in the second round after the first tier of signal-callers are selected.
Murray has a long track record of success in college football's toughest conference, and he displayed both toughness and great technical ability during his pro day workout.
With that in mind, some team stands to land a major steal on the second day of the 2014 NFL draft.
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