Carolina Panthers

2014 NFL draft: Aaron Murray’s knee looks sturdy in Georgia pro day

Aaron Murray started 52 games at Georgia and most of them came against competition in the toughest college football conference in the country – the SEC.

He’s quick to point to his success in those games and the film from them when explaining why NFL teams should take a chance on him despite tearing the ACL in his left knee less than five months ago.

If there were any doubts about the health of Murray’s knee, they were gone by Wednesday afternoon after his strong display of mobility and agility at Georgia’s Pro Day.

With a brace on his left knee, Murray went through a mobility-intensive workout for representatives from 23 NFL teams. Afterward he said he had no soreness in the knee.

“It was a very ambitious script in my opinion because we moved him around so much, and that was paramount,” said Terry Shea, a former NFL and college quarterbacks coach who has been working with Murray. “We wanted to demonstrate his health, that he’s 100 percent healthy, and I believe he obviously answered those questions.

“The NFL wants to see what kind of stroke he has. He’s got very clean mechanics and he drove the ball when he needed to drive it. I really think it was an A-plus day for Aaron.”

Murray had nearly three dozen different types of drops on 54 pass attempts that forced him to go in nearly every direction before delivering his pass. He went 47-of-54 with three drops, two passes out of bounds, one receiver slip and one overthrow.

Murray did not participate in any timed drills or weight room activities.

“I feel no limitations with the knee,” said Murray, who’s rated as a fourth- or fifth-round prospect by the Observer. “I think everyone saw that with all the cutting, sprinting, we put a lot of throws on the run – right and left – to demonstrate my ability to cut off my leg and show everyone I’m healthy.”

Murray tore his ACL against Kentucky on Nov. 23 and missed the rest of the season. He finished as the Bulldogs’ most accomplished passer – setting SEC career records for completions (921), passing yards (13,166), touchdown passes (121) and total offense (13,562 yards).

“I remember seeing him the day after surgery and he wasn’t groggy or anything,” said tight end Arthur Lynch, who caught all 12 of his passes Wednesday and is considered a third-round prospect by the Observer. “He was just sitting up and said, ‘I feel great, I’m ready to go,’ and he was ready to start rehab. I said you got to wait ’til you get out of the hospital bed. But that’s just how he is.”

Murray, who stands just a half-inch above the coveted 6-foot threshold for quarterbacks, fought a strong crosswind all day and only had one overthrow, but he did throw five considerably wobbly passes.

Murray’s arm strength, though important, wasn’t the focus of the day. Georgia coach Mark Richt joked that if Murray didn’t have the black knee brace on his left leg, an observer couldn’t tell he was less than five months removed from knee surgery.

“I think today showed these teams that they don’t have to worry about the knee, that they don’t have to worry about drafting someone who’s not going to be able to participate in the preseason,” Murray said. “I’m ready to go, I’m ready to compete. I’m ready to play. It should help come draft time, but we’ll see.”

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