Thursday, May 2, 2013
Murray the SEC's top draft prospect at QB?
By Chris Low
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel is an easy choice as the SEC's top quarterback heading into the 2013 season. He won the Heisman Trophy last season as a redshirt freshman.
But what if you were picking the best NFL draft prospect at quarterback from this league for next year?
ESPN's Brock Huard has done just that, and he has Georgia's Aaron Murray at the top of his list . In fact, Huard has Murray No. 3 nationally behind Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Clemson's Tajh Boyd.
Obviously, the Texas A&M and Alabama fans won't agree with Huard, but Murray is one of those quarterbacks who has probably drawn more criticism than he's deserved. There's a reason he's thrown for 10,091 career yards, 95 touchdowns (and 32 interceptions). He's talented, tough, smart and durable, not to mention the only quarterback in SEC history to have thrown for 3,000 yards in three straight seasons.
But as Huard points out, the big challenge for Murray in 2013 will be playing his best football in the Bulldogs' biggest games. In games against Alabama, Florida and South Carolina, Murray has a combined 2-5 TD-to-INT ratio.
Huard has Alabama's AJ McCarron No. 6 overall in his ranking of the top quarterback draft prospects for 2014 and Manziel No. 7.
Manziel, who will be a third-year sophomore, is a lot higher on other people's draft lists for 2014. He obviously doesn't have ideal size, but his ability to create and make plays when there seemingly aren't any to make is a trait they're looking for at all levels of football.
The even harder question in the SEC is: Who would be the fourth quarterback on that list?
LSU's Zach Mettenberger could zoom up draft boards with a big senior season, and Mississippi State's Tyler Russell might be in that conversation as well.
Again, these aren't necessarily the top SEC quarterbacks going into next season, but quarterbacks with a chance to emerge as NFL draft choices.