The 2014 NFL draft is still 17 days away. Before we get there, we'll take a look at a prospect or two in the draft who could be of interest to the St. Louis Rams.
By now, we've covered most of the big names so the focus here will be on vetting some potential additions beyond the top 10 of the draft.
School: University of Georgia
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1/2, 207 pounds
Projected round: 3-4
Pros: One of the most productive college quarterbacks in recent memory, setting school and conference records in many major passing records, including the all time touchdowns and yards marks in the SEC. A four-year starter, Murray doesn't lack for experience, either. He started 52 games with a record of 35-17 as a starter. By the time his career was finished, Murray posted 13,166 yards to go with 121 touchdowns against 41 interceptions. Played in a pro-style offense in the best football conference in the country so is used to seeing elite competition. Quick release and good pocket awareness which allow him to reset in the pocket while keeping eyes down the field.
Cons: As with any quarterback of these measurements, lack of size is the first knock on Murray. He also has short arms and his hand size is below average among quarterback prospects. A good, but not great, athlete his lack of height can lead to batted balls at the line of scrimmage. Durability wasn't much of an issue for most of his college career but he tore an ACL late in the season. He recovered enough to participate in a pro day workout recently and should be ready in time for the 2014 season but it remains to be seen how the injury could hamper him long term. Arm strength isn't bad but his deep ball is not up to standard of many top prospects.
Fit with Rams: With Sam Bradford in place as the starter and Shaun Hill providing a veteran backup presence, the Rams still intend to draft a quarterback in May. As we've written in this space since January, that selection will probably come sometime in Rounds 3 or 4. It could potentially be as early as Round 2 if the right players would fall to that spot. Assuming the third or fourth round is the target spot for a quarterback, Murray would make a lot of sense since his draft stock seems to be registered right in that range. The Rams would like to add a quarterback who can ideally backup and push Bradford and, should something go awry in Year 5, potentially replace him. It would be a bit risky to draft a quarterback coming off a major knee injury since Bradford is doing the same but if the Rams are satisfied with his recovery, Murray could be a sound long-term investment.
He said it: On how his height alters the way he play -- "I really haven’t had any trouble at all," Murray said at the scouting combine. "I think it was two or three years ago we had, on paper, the biggest offensive line in the world. We had the biggest offensive line in college and pro. We averaged like 6-4, 6-5, like 320 pounds, and I threw for like 35 or 36 touchdowns that year. So, no problems at all. So, it's not any, as a quarterback you're not really looking over offensive linemen, you're looking through throwing lanes. You just have to be able to use your feet, maneuver around the pocket, be able to stay in the position and throw the ball accurately and deliver the strike."