Aaron Murray: Quarterback Keeper

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For the second straight year, the Kansas City Chiefs have acquired a quarterback from the newest NFL draft class. Only this time, they actually drafted one. In the spring of 2013, John Dorsey brought Tyler Bray, an undrafted quarterback with exceptional arm talent, to town. The fifth-round of the 2014 NFL Draft yielded yet another SEC prospect. For the record, this administration appears to be fond of players from the Southeastern Conference. Murray’s the sixth of seven draftees taken from the conference. He’s arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the SEC and I believe that Chiefs Kingdom has good reason to be excited about him.


Let’s start by taking a look at the pre-draft talk on Murray (from the experts):

Charles Davis, NFL Network

Due to a late-season knee injury that kept him out of the postseason all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine and has limited him in individual workouts, Murray has been below the radar. Some are leery of his height (below 6-foot-1). Others question his arm strength. I see a 52-game starter in the SEC who left as the all-time leader in passing yardage, with 121 touchdowns, and got better every year. On film, I see plenty of wide-field throws as well as numerous downfield shots taken (and completed). Tough, competitive, smart (two-time Academic All America). Let the word get out: Aaron Murray is a QB to be considered. Strongly.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network 

This kid gets it. He’s as accurate as any quarterback in the draft is. I really like the kid. I’ve got to do some more homework on him, because he’s kind of changing my perception right now.

Kevin Weidl, ESPN

Murray has strong field presence, a great understanding for situational football and has brass as a competitor. Very good facilitator. Murray will have limitations, will only fit in certain systems. To his credit though he maximizes everything he has in the tank physically.

Tony Dungy said he sees Russell Wilson in him. Bill Polian said he saw Drew Brees. Those are two ringing endorsements for an R5 pick. I’m sure you’re wondering, “How’d he fall all the way to Round 5?” There are a number of reasons why Murray was a Day 3 selection. He’s just a shade over 6-foot tall, he has small hands, has a perceived lack of arm strength and is coming off of a season-ending ACL injury.


Luckily for the four-year man out of Georgia, he’ll have adequate time to heal. Not much will be expected of him in year one, but he will be competing with Tyler Bray for the final quarterback spot. The Chiefs aren’t going to carry four quarterbacks so someone will obviously be the odd-man out. In my estimation, there are only about three ways this could play out.

1. Chase Daniel gets cut.

This is the choice I’m least comfortable with. It leaves you with two quarterbacks behind Alex Smith that have never taken a meaningful NFL snap. If Smith were to go down, we’d be entrusting this franchise to a tandem who have only a year of combined NFL experience. It also won’t offer much in the way of cap relief. Cutting Chase Daniel will only clear $1.4 million in cap space. Daniel has only made one NFL start, but he’s spent a total of five years in the league with two different franchises.

2. Tyler Bray gets cut.

I’m honestly not real fond of this option either. While Bray is reportedly having trouble assimilating Andy Reid’s system, he does have an elite arm. That was the biggest knock on Bray coming out of college — his inability to play the game above his shoulders. If he were ever able to grasp the finer points of the game, he could be a special player. As it stands, he’ll probably be in the fight of his young NFL life in Kansas City.

3. Aaron Murray is placed on IR.

This would allow the Chiefs to retain the rights to the three quarterbacks behind Smith on the depth chart, but it would also eliminate any development that Murray could make in 2014. Players put on a team’s injured/reserve list aren’t allowed to practice. A permanent designation would keep Murray off the practice field for the entire season. A short-term designation would allow him to re-join the team after 8 weeks, but it would only delay the inevitable decision about who to cut.

Were I John Dorsey, I think I’d probably hand Bray his walking papers. I’m convinced that Murray has more upside and could potentially be a starter in this league. Bray’s football IQ is lacking in such a way that backup may be his ceiling in the NFL. Murray had the better career in college and appears to have all of the intangibles. Time will ultimately tell if he’s the better option, but the next four months are going to be very, very interesting.

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  • Travis Forsyth

    Bray vs Murray it’ll be fun to watch the QBs this offseason.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Preseason games will be VERY interesting.

  • Deaudrey Dre-Mac MacDonald

    I watch Georgia football and I can tell you that he doesn’t have Matt Staffords’ arm but he is a very good quarterback and when a guy like Chris Simms is bashing him because he can’t ball like Aaron should tell you something. Plus and knows a thing about quarterbacks!! Training camp and preseason will tell us who’s on the outs…good article Stacy

  • Brian Dempsey

    “While Bray is reportedly having trouble assimilating Andy Reid’s system”

    This has no merit. There’s nothing to substantiate that, as of yet. It could stand to reason that if that were the case, he’d be gone already.

    And until Murray proves otherwise, I have reasonable suspicion to believe that he’ll be another Stanzi or Croyle.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Actually, it does. It was reported by Jeffrey Flanagan of FOX Sports. I originally forgot to tag the article, but the article’s been updated. Feel free to read his piece for yourself. And before you dismiss it, remember he used to work for the Kansas City Star.

      • Brian Dempsey

        Still has no merit. Everybody was slow to grasp the new Offense and it showed through the first 10 weeks of the season. Whether or not Bray has grasped the system or not at this point in time is a complete unknown commodity to every swinging dick out there, outside of Reid & his coaches, including Flanagan.

        • Stacy D. Smith

          As a former reporter for the biggest local publication in town, I’d venture to guess he has sources pretty close to the team. You can just decide arbitrarily that those reports have no merit, but I’m not quite sure how you’d substantiate them. The logic’s a bit curious though. If EVERYONE had trouble adapting the offense, it wouldn’t make sense to single Bray out, would it?

          Especially given what we know about him already. It’s really not that hard to believe he might be struggling to understand the offense. He’s not a high football IQ guy. He never has been.

          • Brian Dempsey

            Until Bray is actually axed from the roster and replaced, it’s just hearsay — same as the reports about Berry and Flowers being traded.

          • Suzi Conger

            “as a FORMER reporterte” (WHY???) YOU have proven to to b anti-certtain ‘position -position players, not matter the ‘statss’ and facts.. :-)

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Is there a translator in the room?

          • Danny W

            No feeding them.

          • Stacy D. Smith

            Hahaha, I know.

          • Suzi Conger

            lol, yea my bad. I was typing without my reading glasses and while half-asleep. BUT, once again, you (and ‘danny-boy’) prove your sexist bully attitude with your little sarcastic jabs; why is it that you never comment sarcastically on micah’s ‘grammar’? His posts’ display some of the worst grammar on the planet (actually, micah’s grammar is looking better in this post)… you’re funny ‘King Reach’ (do you still call yourself ‘king reach’ on FB? ;- )

            I do find it interesting and humorous that a handful of ‘Chiefs’ are so determined to replace ASmith. For example, SF JHarb has aquired two QB’s this offseason, ck7′s contract extention has ‘stalled’, and 9er’s are not speculating and carrying on about ck7′s ‘replacement’…ASmith is the superior QB (compared to ck7) in virtually all categories except rushing, and even in rushing AS11 only trailed ck7 by 100+- yds playing one less game. Smith is a clutch QB, ck7 is a choke QB., yet the SF people are not all ‘a-titter’ over their two new acquisitions… funny :-).

            Actually, the grammar is pretty funny from your three ‘experts’ ….ha ha, I know, I know…your ‘copy and paste’ method failed and didn’t pick up the full sentences from your ‘experts’ (maybe you didn’t have your reading glasses on either? lol ). You see stacy, that’s why sarcasm sucks…I could easily make fun of you, too.

    • Auburn78

      Ok you SERIOUSLY need to watch some Gabe film from Croyle and Stanzi then watch Murray. I live and breathe SEC football and Croyle sucked. My best friend is from Iowa so I’ve seen more Iowa games that I card to. Stanzi had gawd awful footwork and technique in college. Guy should have been undrafted.

      • Brian Dempsey

        What happened in college doesn’t mean SQUAT. It’s what they do once they get in the NFL that counts and anyone thinking that it’s a given that what Murray did in college is automatically going to translate to the NFL is thinking FOOLISHLY. Here’s the proof: Guess which QB the career college passing stats listed below belong to? Not all that impressive are they? Just so happens those college career stats belong to a guy named Joe Montana.

        Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int
        268 515 52.0 4121 8.0 6.8 25 25

  • Tyler Alexander

    I go back and forth with who should go. Daniel is the more capable backup at this point but has no starter upside at all. It would really chap my ass to see Bray get cut and make waves for another team, which is a real possibility in my mind… and I think it’s a bad idea to put Murray on IR since it is possible he is our starter in two years and will need the practice time. I guess I vote to cut Daniels so Murray can get to run with the 2′s and gain more experience.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      No point in buying lottery tickets you’re never going to scratch, right?

  • David Fritch

    Am I remembering correctly that Favra too originally had difficulty learning all of Holgrams plays. And relied mostly on instinct and arm strength?

  • Blaize Richardson

    One thing to consider is that Aaron Murray isn’t just going to be handed a roster spot, because he was drafted. I truly believe he’ll have to earn it from either Bray or Daniel. Tyler Wilson was drafted in the 4th last year and he didn’t earn a roster spot for the raiders. Another example that more closely pertains to the Chiefs is the Packers 2008 draft. They selected Brian Brohm in the 2nd and Matt Flynn in the 7th, but It was Flynn who immediately got the backup job and it didn’t take long before the Packers released Brohm. I also wouldn’t be surprised if either Murray or Bray got the Tanney treatment and got IRed. Overall though I love this pick. Aaron Murray has clear potential and Andy Reid is one of the best in the game at developing QBs.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Murray’s a better prospect than Brohm and Wilson.

    • berttheclock

      Had to laugh during the draft, when, some of the pundits kept saying the Browns had Tanny behind Hoyer. They never mentioned Thigpen who had been signed along with Vince Young. Now, Young has been cut. But, it was that Tanny thing without ever explaining his background. Interestingly, Flynn has made more money than any 7th rounder before him when you consider he only had that one flash with GB, then, picked up a ton from both the Raiders and Seahawks. Even now, he is being given a 3rd chance

    • berttheclock

      Brohm’s one claim to fame in the NFL was throwing an eight yard TD to Terrell Owens for Buffalo. In 2007, the year before he entered the draft, Sporting News had him listed to be the Number One pick in the 2007 draft. Now, after many years of mostly downs, he is going to be given one more chance with Winnipeg. One other point about his fall is Thigpen beat him out in Buffalo.

  • Richard Comstock

    Man like i was saying last week..I watch tons of SEC football..I live in Georgia and watched ALL of his big games and most of his games in general. This guy is the Fing man…I really really like him..I wanted him so bad last year as our NUMBER ONE PICK!!!!!!!!!

    sounds crazy looking back but this was long ago…Go watch him as a Sophmore vs LSU or a JR vs Alabama (both games vs the number 1 ranked team and defense and with huge implications)…he plays big when the game matters..this kid really is something special..we lucked out…Im with you tho..the best thing we could do is IR him this year let Bray come a long as a back up and then move on from chase…I wont be to upset if they cut chase as long as they make good use of his cap room..just to cut him for no reason would be dumb. Guys we really really really lucked up with this pick..We got a better QB than the Jags did..and we got him in round 5…STEAL OF THE DRAFT BY FAR…

    EDIT….If Murray cant practice on IR now then i say roll the dice and cut chase.. Tyler is right..we cant lose Bray hes got too much upside.

  • Roger Mihalko

    “There are a number of reasons why Murray was a Day 3 selection. He’s just a shade over 6-foot tall, he has small hands, has a perceived lack of arm strength and is coming off of a season-ending ACL injury.”

    The above statement stops the drafting of this kid conversation, I’m not a fan of the pick, could have been used on a better (healthy) player who could have made an impact not some “what if”.

    Our QB’s for next few years should remain AS and Daniel, solid starter/backup combo. I don’t think bray will ever develop here.

  • Calchiefsfan

    I’m betting that Murray goes IR which gives Reid another year to assess Bray and maybe showcase him in the preseason as trade bait. There’s no rush with Murray. Even though he wouldn’t be able to practice he could learn the playbook and sit in on the meetings.
    I’m with you Reach, I loved this kid last year and still can’t believe we got him in the fifth round. The thing I’m especially excited about is all that I’ve read about his ability to quickly read defenses. We always hear talk about arm strength and size, which is important, but if you can’t read a defense then those things just don’t matter. A QB will never make it in the NFL if he can’t dissect a defense and do it quickly.
    I love the example you use of Murray recognizing the stunt and putting the ball in the one place where only his receiver can get to it, very Montanaesque.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Coach Richt gave Murray quite a bit of autonomy because he believed firmly in what the kid could do pre-snap. He’s pretty good at diagnosing and he knew when to change the play at the line. That’s a testament to what he has under his helmet.

      • Calchiefsfan

        I really feel strongly that Murray could be the Chiefs QB of the future. Especially since Reid gets the most out of his quarterbacks.Ten years from now we might be remembering this as the best pick from the 2014 draft.
        Smith will most likely be our QB for the next 3 years, that’s why I don’t think there is any rush to get Murray out on the field. Put him on IR this year, let him learn the playbook and fully recover from the torn ACL. Get something for Bray in a trade after Reid does his thing with him and keep Daniels as the key backup. Rodgers played backup to Favre for 3 years I think and that didn’t work out too badly for GB.

  • Calchiefsfan

    The Chiefs would be crazy to let Daniels go this year. Bray and Murray, even with all the upside they might have, are nowhere near ready to take over effectively as starting QB’s in the NFL. Daniels showed he could execute Reid’s system fairly well in the Charger game.

    • berttheclock

      Yes he did. Just after he threw his first pass directly into the hands of the outstanding LB of the Chargers, Butler. Fortunately, Butler took his eyes off the ball. Had he turned that into a Pick Six, the tempo of the game would have changed greatly.

      • Calchiefsfan

        I chalk that up to early game jitters for his first start ever in the NFL. He got a bit lucky on that play but after that he settled in quite nicely.

        • berttheclock

          Overall, he played well, but, many only remember his first long pass down the sidelines and forget the near miss Pick 6.

          • Calchiefsfan

            He had a 99.3 QB rating which wasn’t too shabby even though it was against a not so good Charger defense. I just think Daniel is our best option at backup for now. Bray and Murray aren’t ready yet, which could prove disastrous if Smith went down for a couple of games and one of them had to step in a carry the team.

          • berttheclock

            I concur.

          • ChiefTucson

            Bert – every star QB in the NFL has had that happen to them and I would venture to say that all have a throw like that intercepted in a game.

  • berttheclock

    Dorsey said two things about him. First, he throws with accuracy and secondly, he drove his team late in games, not, always to wins, but, he gives them a chance to win. The same was very true about Russell Wilson, of whom, I started watching in his last year at Wisconsin. He had come from behind wins and he brought Wisconsin from behind against Michigan State, only to see Cousins hurl a miracle to beat him.

    A long time ago at the race tracks, I learned there is only one absolute and that is there are no absolutes. Phil Emory, who trained under Pioli, wrote off any QB taken in the NFL after the 3rd round. I believe that is nonsense. There are always exceptions to the so-called rule. I see nothing wrong in Murray being selected in the 5th. More than one ACL tear has caused players to drop in the draft. Tank Carradine had 1st round written all over him, but, his ACL tear dropped him into the 2nd and Baalke swooped, while, others said don’t take him. Now, after one year, he is poised to have a big year for the Niners. The more I read into this pick by Dorsey, the more it makes sense. All fans see in Bray is his strong arm, but, if there is not any football IQ above his shoulders, cut him loose. Murray brings a ton of options to the Chiefs. With the contract extension in limbo with Alex Smith, this was a very strong option for the Chiefs

  • berttheclock

    One other positive about Murray is his foot eye co-ordination. This is what all great QBs possess and many have spent countless hours developing this skill. As the eye turns in progressions, so must the feet move as well and be in sync. This is what cost Stanzi. He never could master it and would throw off balance. Dilfer noted this about Murray having such a technique.

  • david

    I like the Murray pick the only other qb I wanted was mccarron

  • Norman Gunn

    When Murray was a junior and we had the 1st overall pick he was the quarterback I wanted with that pick. That year Dungy stated that he has the work ethic of a Manning. I know 98% of 5th round quarterbacks never pan to anything, this guy will fall in the 2% as long as he stays healthy and knows how to move in the pocket. He can make the throws, run the defense, make the adjustments, and is not a turnover machine (although he looked bad in that Alabama game his junior year…) Until AS long-term deal is inked lets carry 4 QBs. If we need to, lets practice squad the loser of the Murray/Bray battle, but Murray only loses due to his ACL recovery.

    • Stacy D. Smith

      I don’t think either of them would survive on the practice squad. Another team would steal one of them away.

      • Norman Gunn

        I didn’t think about that..

  • Chris Toombs

    Another thing about Murray’s ability to read plays: the long run you have a gif of was actually not the called play, the TE Lynch said in an interview after the game it was supposed to be a short pass to him but Murray diagnosed it in a split second and decided to run

    • Stacy D. Smith

      Even more impressive then.

  • Pessimisticchiefsfan

    I think you have to cut Daniels. Bray still has a chance to be the QB of the future. Daniels may be more experienced but are we really going to win a Super Bowl if he is the qb? I say take a chance on smith not getting hurt and if he does throw one of the young guys in and see if something special happends.

    • micah stephenson

      No he doesn’t. Bray sucks.

      • Pessimisticchiefsfan

        You don’t know shit

        • micah stephenson

          I bet you 99% of my chip stack that bray never becomes a starter in the nfl. It just does not happen. Google the percent of QBs drafted 4th rd or later that became starters about something in the nfl. Its prolly around 2% if that much.

  • Danny W

    Good read.

  • Andy

    His first name is Aaron….
    I agree, a lot to like. He is in the right situation to succeed.

  • David Gonzales

    Cut Daniels if Murray can soak up the playbook. Daniels is getting paid like a starter riding the bench.