Has good speed and smooth acceleration to the hole, able to get up to speed quickly. A good straight-line runner that excels behind a zone-blocking scheme as a one-cut runner. Does a good job when he can get outside and use his speed. Very capable and natural receiver in the passing game that has good, sure hands and adjusts to the throw. Capable of lining up in the slot to create matchup problems. Can be dangerous on screens and wheel routes because of his quick first step after the catch and speed to run by defender. Shows some toughness as a runner, squaring up defender with nice pad level on occasion. Will fight for extra yards. Shows some quickness to make guys miss in the open field with a nice studder-step to juke. Contributes in pass protection when he can, squaring up linebacker and hitting most of his assignments vs. the blitz. Shows ability as a kickoff returner due to his speed and burst.
Doesn't have natural footwork or balance. Has to stop and chop his feet to change direction and can be tripped up easily when that is the case. Undersized and is not a threat to get a lot of yards after contact. Can be tentative about contact at times. Doesn't have ideal vision to locate cutback lanes and lacks the lateral burst and footwork to take advantage when they are there. Isn't going to make a lot of defenders miss in the open field because of his lacking change of direction abilities. Needs to do a better job securing the ball against his body and will carry it like a loaf of bread. Durability has always been an issue throughout his college career.
Murray looked very promising two years ago and had early round potential, but injuries have plagued him and he was constantly returning to OKlahoma to prove he could be durable. He is a talented back that has good speed and smooth burst, but he's a bit one-dimensional. He can shine in a zone-blocking scheme and as a third down option in the passing game, but he'll be limited in most other schemes as an average reserve. In the right offense, he can be a dynamic weapon in the passing game that flashes potential like a Reggie Bush. Finally made it through a season healthy his senior, starting all 14 games and logging 282 carries for 1214 yards (4.3 avg), 15 touchdowns, 71 receptions, and 5 receiving touchdowns. Split carries with Chris Brown as a junior, finishing with 705 yards on 171 carries (4.1 avg), 8 rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions and 4 more receiving scores. Broke out his sophomore year, but went down with a hamstring injury in the Big 12 championship game on the opening kickoff, prompting him to return for one more year. Had 179 carries for 1002 yards that year (5.6 avg) with 14 touchdowns, and 31 receptions. Had a dislocated knee cap after coming on strong in the second half of his freshman year behind Brown and Allen Patrick. Finished year with 764 yards on 127 carries (6.0 avg), 13 touchdowns, and 14 receptions. For his career, also returned 53 kickoffs for an average of 27.6 yards and 2 touchdowns, both scores coming as freshman.
Murray adds valuable depth for most teams. In the right offense, like that of Sean Payton's, he can be used much like Reggie Bush in the passing game and help create matchups on the outside. He's that natural a receiver. He should be able to get up to speed fairly quickly in terms of pass protection. He showed good skills there despite having limited usage there because of his skills as a receiver. I do like the fact that Murray stopped dancing as much in the open field as he did early in his career, looking to hit the homerun every play. I don't llike the fact that his ball security never really improved over the course of his career. And I don't think he's going to be a reliable enough running back at the next level to be trusted for anything more than a 10-carry per game role. I think a zone blocking team can utilize him most effectively as a runner. As a runner, he reminds me a lot of Jerious Norwood, in that his speed and burst can be very effective behind a zone-blocking line because he's a very good one-cut runner that is good on counters, stretches, and outside runs. But behind a man-blocking line where he's going to need better footwork, balance, power, vision, and pad level, he'll be fairly average. Ultimately his success at the next level will depend on the scheme and the creativity of hte offensive coordinator and his durability. He was hurt pretty much every year he played at Oklahoma, and doesn't have the frame or strength to hold to NFL punishment, much like Norwood. If you're committed to getting him touches, like 10-15 game, mixing them up in the passing game and on the ground, he'll be a very valuable backup. He can be a nice change of pace runner on occasion, but won't be reliable enough to get the tough yards in crunch situations.
Murray can work in Atlanta because of his ability in the passing game as a reserve to Turner. But as far as running the football goes, he's not going to be anymore effective in the Mularkey offense than Norwood has been. He'll break an occasional big run, but not reliable enough to give him more than a handful of carries each week. INstead, his value in Atlanta will be on the third downs where he can be a dynamic weapon that can line up in the backfield or in the slot. If the Falcons incorporate more screens into their offense, he'll be even more effective. BUt he can be a nice productive option for Ryan to dump-off too. He'll probably split reps on third downs with Snelling as a rookie, and potentially take over as the primary guy in his second year if he can stay healthy. The problem is, as with the case as Norwood, with Murray as the No. 2 guy on your roster, you need to be solid at the No. 3 spot, because you can't count on him to make it through a full 16-game season healthy.
Murray is a solid third round pick because of his ability to contribute in the passing game and on third downs. He's an average runner in most offensive schemes. But a zone-blocking team that is looking for a dynamic option in the passing game wouldn't be wrong to nab him in the late second if they plan to use him like Reggie Bush.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
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