By Justis Mosqueda
2009: Redshirted his first year at Georgia.
2010: He and Zach Mettenberger (now LSU's starting quarterback) battled for the starting spot before Mettenberger was kicked off the team. Murray was named to several freshman All-American teams after his 2010 season.
2011: In his second year as a starter, Murray earned 2nd team All-SEC behind Tyler Wilson (2013 Raiders 4th round pick).
2012: Had a slight slump in progression in 2012 and was named to several 3rd team All-SEC teams, behind the Heisman-winning Johnny "Football" Manziel and back to back National Champion, A.J. McCarron.
2013: Projected to start for his forth year.
Aaron Murray is much smaller than the prototypical quarterback. He's listed as 6'1", but it wouldn't surprise anyone if he was measured in at 6'0". That is a problem, but it can be overcome. While I'm not willing to let it just slide, I don't think it carries as much weight as many think it does.
I don't really understand the Aaron Murray hype, to be honest. Gil Brandt and Tony Dungy both said he's their number one senior quarterback of the class. While I respect both of them, I don't agree.
Dungy even went on about Murray's work-ethic, saying it was Peyton-like. You can see it in some parts of Murray's game, like the play action. Murray has one of the best fake hand-offs outside of Denver, but that does not make a quarterback.
Actually, for as efficient as Murray is (most TDs and least interceptions in the 2nd half of games in 2012, by QB's with 100+ passing attempts), he really looks like he's more comfortable outside of the pocket than inside of it. Murray played in a hybrid under-center/shotgun system, but when he took under-center snaps the PA and rollout game really helped him. He doesn't have the biggest arm and the rollout helps him gain momentum (power) to throw the deep ball. His non-rollout deep balls seemed to have too much air under them.
Aaron Murray is slightly athletic. Not the zone read type, but he's "functionally mobile". Unfortunately for him, he tucks the ball vs the rush like he's an elite athlete. He's not very good under pressure and that's because he doesn't really get the ball off. Instead of throwing vs fewer men in coverage, he tucks the ball and often gets sacked. That leads me into another issue I have with Murray: he locks onto receivers. I know Dungy compared Murray to Peyton, but the way Murray reads defenses seems so far away from what Manning does I just can't buy it.
If you would have told me Murray has the most yards per drop back of any senior quarterback in the class, I wouldn't believe it. If you would have told me Murray had the most second half touchdowns of anyone in college football, I wouldn't believe it. If you would have told me Murray had the least second half interceptions for a quarterback with over 100 passes, I wouldn't believe it. That's just not his game, and I'm not sure how he's managed to put up those numbers in SEC play, to be totally honest.
Overall, Murray is just a quarterback that is slightly above average in about every category. He's got an okay arm, he's got okay accuracy, he's got okay feet, but he can't really read defenses well enough to take advantage of what they give him. If you're a 6'1"/6'0" quarterback in the SEC, you have to take everything that the defense gives you. He's just a quarterback that peaked early, won an SEC starting quarterback spot as a freshman, and has been over-hyped the last year.
Justis Mosqueda's current 2013 quarterback rankings:
1 David Fales San Jose State 1st Round grade
2 A.J. McCarron Alabama Late Day 2/Day 3 grade
3 Tajh Boyd Clemson Late Day 2/Day 3 grade
Justis Mosqueda is a Journalism student that writes for DraftFalcons.com, Packers-Backer.blogspot.com, and cuts videos of NFL Draft prospects for DraftBreakdown.com
You can follow Justis on Twitter: Twitter.com/justismosqueda