Tyler Bray and Aaron Murray have tough decisions about the upcoming NFL Draft and whether to forgo their senior seasons for a shot in the league. Both juniors could stay in school one more season and improve their draft stock, but, nonetheless, it’s a temping move for either signal caller.
NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper recommends another season for Bray at Tennessee.
“I would say right now another year at Tennessee would benefit him,” ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper said Tuesday during a conference call. “If he comes out, you’re probably looking at maybe a second-, third-round pick potentially, but if he goes back, he’s a guy you would think could be in the first-round discussion [next year]. I’d project him more right now to be a third-rounder.
“I would say definitely go back to Tennessee and improve on the areas I talked about and try to maximize your rating.”
But Bray’s decision could hinge on the spread offense that Butch Jones runs, too. Jones has had a history of mobile quarterbacks, and Bray certainly doesn’t fit that bill. However, Jones has been adamant upon his hiring that he will cater to the strengths of his players, as good coaches always do.
We know Bray possesses all the physical tools to play in the league, with a pocket passer’s body and maybe the strongest arm in college football, but he hasn’t proven in the past three years he gets it between the ears. The NFL is physically taxing, but it’s also very mentally taxing, too. Bray would be leaving money on the table if he entered the draft now, though, when there is so much upside to him returning for his senior season. I do expect receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson to enter the draft, and that could have an impact on Bray’s decision.
Kiper also recommended another season at Georgia for Aaron Murray.
“I would go back for another year if I were Aaron Murray because I think unless you’re a guaranteed first-round pick it’s wise to go back. Especially when you play at Georgia with the talent around the quarterback there, even though (Tavarres) King will be moving on. But you’ve got (Malcolm) Mitchell coming back, the great young running backs around you, the line, you’ve got a lot of good components in terms of the situation there, in terms of the talent around the quarterback. So I would go back.
“The thing working against Murray is in some of the big games he had some struggles. Obviously against Alabama he didn’t get the win, but he was right there with them the whole way. And of course you think about the height, what’s he gonna measure out at: Is he gonna be six feet, a little over it, what exactly is he gonna be? He’s not gonna be 6-2, 6-3. And of course this quarterback year is pretty wide open.”
Murray is the first SEC quarterback to ever throw for three 3,000-yard seasons in his career, and he ranks second all time in the SEC with 90 touchdowns, leaving only Danny Wuerffel ahead of Murray for the record with 114 total. He would shatter that record upon returning.
I believe Murray has unfinished business. He has been on a quest for a championship and has gotten a taste of it the last two seasons, with the most recent one ending in heartbreak, a mere five yards short. He’s been hammered for playing badly in big games, and his record proves that as the starter.
Ultimately, I think Murray returns for his senior season in quest of yet another championship, another 3,000-yard season and the SEC career touchdown record.
Do you think Bray and Murray will enter the draft?
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