With just more than a week until the NFL draft begins, most analysts project at least seven other quarterbacks will be selected before Aaron Murray is taken.
Jon Gruden, who raved about the former Georgia four-year starter earlier this month, said Tuesday that he would put Murray higher in the pecking order at the position.
“He’s in my top five,” said Gruden, the former Tampa Bay and Oakland coach who is now an ESPN Monday Night Football commentator. “I realize he’s got some injuries. Not just the knee that he’s rehabbing right now but he had some injuries in high school that people I’m sure are also documenting. But when I watch Georgia play I see production at the quarterback position. I don’t think many kids have thrown for 3,000 yards four straight seasons in that conference.”
Murray is the only to do that in the Southeastern Conference.
He is trying to show teams before the May 8-10 draft that he’s recovered quickly from a torn ACL to his left knee last November.
Murray was one of nine quarterbacks to take part in Gruden’s “QB Camp” this year, where he showed Gruden something when he worked with players such as NFL wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
“Murray did a great job meeting with NFL players, college players,” Gruden said. “I just like a lot of things about him.”
And Gruden likes Georgia’s “very diverse” offensive system in which Murray played.
“It’s a single-back, no-huddle spread system,” he said. “It’s a traditional I-formation, two-back system, but they do throw the ball down the field as well as any team in college football. I’ve seen him manage a lot of different kind of systems. I do like the fact that he’s been in an offense for four years, been a starter for four years. I like this kid a lot.”
Murray spent Tuesday going through the ESPN “car wash” in Bristol, Conn., appearing on several of the network’s shows just like LSU and Oconee County’s Zach Mettenberger and Alabama’s A.J. McCarron had already done.
Murray talked with anchor Hannah Storm on one of his SportsCenter appearances about a recent individual workout with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were shocked with how hard he could be pushed, Murray told Storm.
“I think I proved to them everything that needs to be proven to hopefully get drafted by them or somebody else,” Murray said.
Murray picked his best and worst games at Georgia during a Twitter chat: “Best game—vs. LSU ’13—Worst game—at Auburn ’13 (unbelievable way to lose)”
He told Paul Finebaum on his radio show about the SEC title game loss to Alabama in 2012: “It will always stay with me, but I try to look at the positives. It was in incredible game, probably the national championship that season.”
On the “Football Today” podcast he spoke about where he and agent Pat Dye Jr. think he might get drafted.
“We’re thinking more mid-round,” Murray said. “I think we’ve definitely gained some momentum.”
Part of that, Murray said, was a “real successful day” at the Gruden QB camp.
Gruden spoke highly of Murray after the Tampa, Fla., native’s appearance with him earlier this month.
“I’ve just done this quarterback camp show for five years,” Gruden said on ESPN afterwards. “We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of kids come through here. He’s at the top of the food chain, Murray. There’s a lot of things to like about him: his production, his mental and physical toughness and the way he plays the position. I don’t know what round he’s going in. I never understood the draft, but he’s going to make somebody’s draft very, very exciting.”
Gruden said Tuesday that fifth-year seniors David Carr, Murray and McCarron are most ready to help out an NFL team now.
Gruden told Murray on the QB Camp show that there is one drawback: Murray thinks too deeply and philosophically at times because he was a psychology major.
“Coach (Mike) Bobo tells me that, too,” Murray said before Georgia’s Pro Day. “Coach Bobo tells me I think too much. I just need to relax and play sometimes.”
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