Dial up this clip to about the :40 mark and watch Aaron Murray’s response to the inevitable question about whether it was worth it for him to come back to Georgia for his senior season. There’s this almost imperceptible pause after he denies having any regrets about his decision to return, and you get the feeling it’s not because he’s uncertain about that but that he’s thinking about where his team was at the end of September and how it finished the regular season.
The other thing he clearly doesn’t have any regrets about is his improved play. Injuries, the defense and special teams play may have robbed him of what could have been a special year, but he did what he could to overcome that. And it’s good for Murray – and the coaches who had a hand in making him a better player – that others have taken note of it.
“I really gained a lot of respect for him this past year, the toughness that he showed, the leadership that he showed hanging in there when their team had no chance to win in games and just continuing to fight,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “Keeping his team in games that they had no business remaining in with everybody that was injured around him.”
Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Murray are most ready to start Day 1 in the NFL, said Mayock, who said Murray probably will go in the third round.
“Murray, I thought probably knows how to play the position better than any quarterback in the draft,” Mayock said. “He’s got anticipation and timing probably because he’s had to since he was a young kid because he was never that big, overpowering arm quarterback. … Murray’s arm strength isn’t as good as you’d like it, but, man, accuracy, timing and anticipation, it’s what that position is all about. With the second and third rounders making it more recently, he’s all of a sudden been in a lot of conversations with a lot of teams about a potential starting quarterback.”
And then there’s Michael Elkon’s comparison.
… In a normal senior year, Murray’s numbers would have likely gone up, including his completion percentage. In Murray’s actual senior year, he was deprived of the chance of playing with just about every front-line running back and receiver on the roster and was left fending for his life as the last survivor in the platoon.
Murray started for four years, he played without massive advantages, and he wasn’t in a system that has a terrible track record at producing successful pro quarterbacks. If the NFL is a copycat league, then maybe its teams should look at the quarterback who just won the Super Bowl and pick the prospect with similar physical dimensions and college experience. Aaron Murray isn’t necessarily Russell Wilson, but there are a number of similarities, and the right team should notice those parallels.
I’m sure Matthew Stafford’s NFL career has been a good sales tool for Georgia on the recruiting trail, but Murray, who doesn’t have Stafford’s freakish right arm, has the potential to be an even better one if his game translates successfully to the next level. Georgia, as we all know, doesn’t believe in promoting its best players for the Heisman, so, ironically, it may soon find itself talking up Aaron Murray’s game more than it did while he wore the red and black.