Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is one of the more polarizing draft prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. Murray supporters will point to his productivity in the SEC as evidence that he will be an outstanding pro quarterback. During his junior year, Murray set three single-season Georgia passing record: passing yards (3,893), touchdowns (36) and pass efficiency (174.82).
Naturally, his critics bring up his lack of height (he’s 6-foot-1) and claim that he hasn’t played well in Georgia’s biggest games. It’s true he’s struggled against Florida and South Carolina, but he was tremendous in the SEC Championship game against Alabama.
With one year left to play, Murray has one more chance to silence his doubters as he prepares for his senior season in Athens.
Has played in a pro-style offense at Georgia
Outstanding footwork in the pocket, particularly in his deeper drops
Excellent ball handler in play action
Drives the ball well to the sidelines, allowing him to make all the throws
Works through his progressions well, doesn’t get locked into primary read
Smooth, efficient release
Shows great timing on intermediate throws
Throws the back-shoulder fade very well
Battle-tested SEC veteran
Has shown toughness and willingness to sit in the pocket
Not a great athlete, but shows enough mobility to keep plays alive with his feet
Height, only 6-foot-1
Gets a lot of balls batted down at the line of scrimmage
Sometimes holds the ball too long and takes unnecessary sacks
Deep ball occasionally loses steam and leads to underthrown balls
As a result, isn’t as accurate on downfield throws
Hasn’t played well in some high-profile games
Murray will once again be leading a high-powered Georgia attack in 2013. He has some of his favorite targets back in wide receivers Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell and tight end Arthur Lynch. An outstanding running game led by sophomores Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall should give Murray opportunities to beat teams that are crowding the line of scrimmage.
Once again, Murray will have the chance to secure some signature wins for Georgia. They open the season Aug. 31 at Clemson, and then they host South Carolina the next weekend. LSU is back on the schedule in 2013, and they, of course, once again play rival Florida.
With another productive year, Murray could be the top QB taken in 2014.
2014 NFL Draft Projection: First Round
B.L. is a college football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip.