NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
As I get back into the groove of watching tape and breaking down players, I continue my look at some of the Cornerbacks in this class. Today my search took me north to Minnesota where I sat down and watched the Gophers Eric Murray. Here is what I came away with.
Not a lot has changed over the past several weeks. It still sucks that the Patriots do not have a first round pick, injuries continue to hurt the Patriots from a performance standpoint, and the future needs of this team are still CB, RB, WR, OL, and TE. To me, it looks like some of the secondary players who were playing well earlier in the season have regressed a bit and reinforcements are needed before next season starts. I live right in the middle of Big 10 and Big 12 country (funny side note: neither conference has the amount of teams in it that their name would lead you to believe) so I have had the opportunity to catch many of these games. Eric Murray first caught my eye early in the season when Minnesota played TCU and Murray did a nice job against the highly thought of Josh Doctson. Here are the rest of my thoughts on Murray.
Name: Eric Murray (#31)
School: Minnesota (Sr.)
Weight: 197 Lbs.
Week in and week out, Murray was asked to man up against the other teams best receiver, and for the most part, he held his own. He is a very physical player and shows the ability to force receivers to adjust their routes. He is strong and aggressive at the line of scrimmage and shows good hand use to jam his opponent. Murray shows the ability to understand and play well in both man and zone concepts. He has 18 pass defenses in his 26 starts, so he has a knack for locating and playing the ball.
Murray has decent size and speed, but neither will wow you. His overall athleticism will also leave you wanting more. He can play too aggressive at times and has had his fair share of pass interference calls. Murray is grabby and will be susceptible to holding penalties beyond five yards. He has had a ton of pass breakups but only 2 interceptions in his career so his play making and ball skills are question marks. It seems like a running theme, and maybe I am asking too much from Corners, but once again, I see a guy who is inconsistent in run support. He struggles to get off blocks and I question his effort. There are times he comes up to make the play, but it does not show up on tape enough for me.
Murray plays with confidence and physicality, but he is limited athletically and I think he will struggle to cover NFL receivers. Because of his limited athleticism, he may have already maxed out his potential. His aggressive play could lead to a lot of flags at the next level if he doesn’t clean up that aspect of his game. Murray is a competitor, but I don’t see the traits needed to be a sustained starter in the NFL. He looks like a Day 3 corner to me.