Aaron Murray is far from the most high-profile quarterback to sit across from former NFL head coach Jon Gruden during a trip to ESPN's Jon Gruden's QB Camp. If draft profiles were based solely on production, though, Murray would be the talk of this draft.
After four years at Georgia, Murray finished his college career with more yards and touchdowns through the air than any player in the history of the SEC. Georgia Football helps reminds us of its former signal-caller's sterling resume:
Despite this, Murray is likely headed toward a mid-round selection in the 2014 NFL draft, and Gruden wastes no time tackling one of the concerns leading to that.
Right at the start of the show, Gruden tells Murray that he's "too short." He doesn't say it once, he says it multiple times. He even gets Murray saying it. Of course, it's in a joking nature. Gruden isn't going to write off a quarterback because of his height, and Murray certainly isn't going to write himself off.
As Murray explains, he can work around his lack of height (he is listed at 6'1") by throwing through lanes and not over blockers and linemen.
Prolific New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees hasn't suffered from his lack of height, and Murray has spent plenty of time watching film on Brees. ESPN's Mike Triplett passed along this quote from Murray:
We [Brees and Murray] have very similar styles. Not only just on the field just playing ball, but leadership as well. That’s something I work extremely hard to do, to take control of the team and represent the University of Georgia both on and off the field. And that’s something he does well ...
And then you just go to ball, and he’s a lot of fun to watch. ... All summer long I’d be watching some of his games, what he does maneuvering out of the pocket, watching him get through reads.
Back at Gruden's camp, the two watched and discussed clips that show Murray throwing on the run. This ability also helps him overcome his lack of height. Of course, this is where another concern holding back his draft stock turns up, as he is roughly five months removed from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.
Obviously, it is never going to help a player's draft stock when he is coming off major knee surgery, but by all appearances, Murray's knee recovery is going well. Murray worked out for over 20 NFL teams at Georgia's pro day, and he moved well when he and Gruden hit the field to make some throws and move around in the pocket.
Along with the show, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport passes along that Murray's knee has looked good when working out for NFL teams:
Teams love how Aaron Murray has recovered RT @alexmarvez: Shea said he didn't have to curtail any of the on-field drills he did with Murray— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 4, 2014
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of a play, Murray talks like a coach when Gruden has him address the white board. He understands the purposes of routes, progressions and can dissect defensive alignments.
Aaron Murray will be...
It is that last part which should solidify Murray's viability in the NFL. He comes off like a coach's dream. He has a willing smile and was receptive to Gruden's criticisms. He looks determined to get to work and prove people wrong about his size limiting his NFL potential.
He also has a laid-back nature backed by an air of confidence.
If Murray can't hack it as a starter in the NFL, he would make a great backup. He has the right attitude to be prepared for his opportunities, even if they are sparse, and not be a team cancer due to lack of playing time.
Murray may not be a star or even a regular starter in the NFL, but he has the arm talent and attitude to be a valuable member of a team for a lengthy stay.