Murray Hopes Workout Eases NFL Draft Concerns
GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Quarterback Aaron Murray still has some convincing to do after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in late November.
Even so, Murray believes he alleviated many potential concerns about his health after working out in front of 23 NFL teams at Georgia’s pro day Wednesday.
Murray said he felt “no limitations” despite wearing a brace on his left knee. Murray hopes that some scouts will recommend him as a second-round draft pick after his scripted workout that included 54 passes to several receivers on a windy, chilly morning.
“We did a lot of throws on the run, left and right, to demonstrate my ability to cut off my leg and show everyone that I’m healthy,” he said. “That way these teams don’t have to worry about if they draft me that I’m going to have to sit out or anything like that.”
Murray likewise understands that he could be the ninth quarterback taken and could fall into the fourth or fifth round.
But Murray says that NFL teams are impressed with his resume at Georgia — 52 starts and Southeastern Conference career passing records for yards and touchdowns.
In conversations with former Georgia stars A.J. Green, a Pro Bowl receiver with Cincinnati, and Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions’ quarterback, Murray has been reassured that NFL teams value a successful career in the SEC.
“Obviously it’s not the NFL, but it’s the closest thing to it when it comes to college football,” Murray said. “That helps us after playing against these top (opponents) week in and week out, gets us ready for the NFL.”
Green, among a couple hundred onlookers at the Bulldogs’ practice fields, thought his former teammate appeared sharp, particularly given the severity of his injury and how soon he’s returned to the field.
“He’s doing everything you’d hope to see from an NFL quarterback,” Green said. “He’s going to have a lot of success in the league.”
Tight end Arthur Lynch, who ran a variety of routes for Murray, thought his longtime roommate and close friend “was on the money with all of his throws” even though the session included three drops, two balls caught out of bounds and an incompletion.
“For a guy that had surgery four months ago, he showed that he was strong and didn’t lose any athleticism,” said Lynch, a potential mid-round pick. “If anything he probably got stronger.”
Personal quarterback coach Terry Shea, who directed the workout, has been putting Murray through the same drills for a few weeks.
Every standard passing route was on display.
“Deep outs, comebacks, digs, being able to put the ball (in the right spot) on the posts, the corners, downfield balls,” Murray said. “All the throws you need to compete at the next level.”
Murray returned to Athens two weeks ago to practice the script and get ready. Before that, he was training in Pensacola, Fla., at a facility associated with sports orthopedist James Andrews.
“He’s gotten better with a lot of throws, his consistency, getting the ball up, following through, getting it on time, all those things,” said former Georgia teammate Rantavious Wooten, one of his receivers Wednesday. “He came out and did the same thing that he’s been doing for two weeks.”
The workout also held plenty of significance for Lynch, who like Murray was invited to the NFL scouting combine two months ago in Indianapolis.
Lynch hopes that teams will respect that he played a variety of roles — fullback, wide receiver and special teams — in four years with the Bulldogs.
“I’m not the guy who wows you, but I’m definitely that does things consistently and does everything fairly well,” Lynch said. “More and more tight ends are getting drafted than ever in this history of the draft. Whether I go in the seventh round or the second round, these teams know what they’re going to get, and I think I’ll be able to make a long career in the NFL.”
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