COMPLETE NFL DRAFT ANALYSIS: Louis Murphy

Dave-Te' Thomas is an accomplished sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Dave-Te' runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report. He has prepared extremely in-depth scouting reports of the three Gators in this weekend's NFL Draft.

The two-sport standout might have been overshadowed by teammates Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow on the football field and seldom used in the team's spread offense, but most professional scouts feel that this speedster has some of the best deep threat ability in the 2009 NFL Draft receiver crop. Known more for his track exploits as a sprinter coming out of the prep ranks, Louis Murphy patiently waited two seasons before he was given an opportunity to show off his football skills, going on to catch 73 of his career 75 receptions during his junior and senior campaigns.

Flying "under the radar" is nothing new to Murphy. The Lakewood High School team captain and three-year starter competed as a winged-T option quarterback, twice earning team MVP honors on offense and once on special teams. He shifted to wide receiver during his senior campaign, as Rivals.com rated him the 37th-best receiver prospect in the country during his short tenure at that position.

In his only year at that spot, Murphy had 26 receptions for 520 yards and three touch-downs. He also returned one kick return and one punt return for touchdowns. His most memorable moment on the gridiron was taking the ball as quarterback and running up the middle of the field to score a 50-yard touchdown during his first year playing football.

Murphy received much more attention for his exploits on the prep track. He ran as the anchor on a 4x400 relay on the Lakewood squad, winning the state championship as a sophomore. He also played basketball for the Spartans at power forward.

Murphy enrolled at the University of Florida in 2005, turning down scholarship offers from Tennessee, Florida State and Louisville. A St. Petersburg native, he wanted to go to Miami but was never recruited by the Hurricanes and wound up at Florida.

As a freshman, he appeared in nine games, but was relegated to special teams duty in 2005. His only statistic registered was a solo tackle vs. Mississippi State. As a sophomore, he was deep down on the depth chart, seeing action in twelve games. He recorded three solo tackles and caught two passes for 42 yards, including a 35-yard score vs. Louisiana State.

As a junior, Murphy started ten games as the team's flanker. He finished third on the squad with 37 receptions for 548 yards (14.8 avg) and five touchdowns. He added 12 yards on a reverse and 41 yards on three kickoff returns (13.7 avg), averaging 52.85 all-purpose yards per game. He was the only Gator to catch art least one pass in each of the team's thirteen contests. He also competed on Florida's track team after the season, clocking a personal best 6.36 in the 55-meter dash at the Tom Jones Memorial Classic.

Murphy was named team captain for the 2008 season. He changed from jersey #82 to #9 prior to the season opener, going on to rank second on the squad with 38 catches for 655 yards (17.2 avg) and seven touchdowns. He attempted a pass vs. Florida State and also saw time on the punt coverage team, as he averaged 47.29 all-purpose yards per game.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

2008 Best Games Miami, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama.
2008 Worst Games Tennessee, Kentucky, The Citadel.
2007 Best Games Troy, Mississippi, Kentucky, Florida State.
2007 Worst Games Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Michigan.

SCOUTING REPORT

GENERAL REPORT…GRADE-6.18

Body Structure
Murphy has a typical sprinter's frame- lean and angular with tight muscles, no bubble and thin limbs. His slim frame has decent muscle definition, but he needs to bulk up more. The problem could be that he might not be able to carry more than another 5 pounds on his frame without it impacting his best asset – his speed. He has thin calves and thighs that looks more like a track man than a flanker.

Athletic Ability
Murphy has outstanding quickness which is highlighted when he gets a clean release, but lacks bulk and strength to defeat the jam. He shows very good body flexibility and acceleration and is an exciting type of mover with good feet in his route. He must be more aggressive using his hands to gain inside position vs. the defender. He has good change of direction agility and the sudden burst needed to close on the play. He stays under control coming out of his pedal and has the natural ability to open his hips in order to generate a quicker second gear. He shows smooth hips in transition and natural hands to field the ball. His lack of ideal strength and aggressiveness seem to be his biggest draw-backs…GRADE-7.0

Football Sense
Murphy is adequate in picking up schemes and reacting to plays in front of him. I question his ball anticipation ability (stands around a lot instead of competing for jump balls and looks hesitant at times coming off the snap, where he will false step). He must do a better jog of adjusting to defenders on the field (will run right into them instead of looking for soft areas). As far as his ability to retain plays, he is smart enough to digest a complicated playbook…GRADE-5.6

Character
Murphy is well liked by the staff and teammates. He is a quiet, respectful player who is easy to coach. He comes from a supportive family and is close with his father. He has no known off-field issues and is more of a leader by example type now, but did run into problems with the staff earlier in his career as they questioned his dedication and work ethic…GRADE-6.4

Competitiveness
Murphy is an effective route runner who gives good effort on the field, but is still learning the nuances of the position. He only played receiver one year in high school and saw minimal action his first two seasons at Florida. Also, operating in the spread, he is not required to run deep routes and the system keeps everything too simplified. He will do whatever the coaches ask. He does a good job preparing for his upcoming opponent and the thing you see is that he gives solid effort until the whistle…GRADE-5.6

Work Habits
Murphy is a good worker who takes the extra hours to study film. He is not known as a great route runner and will frustrate a pro coach with his penchant for running right into spots. He does everything asked of him and has an excellent team-first attitude. He is looked up to and respected by his teammates…GRADE-6.3

ATHLETIC REPORT…GRADE-6.24

Release
Murphy flashes good quickness coming off the ball and can accelerate out of his start, showing the suddenness to gain advantage. But, he is not active with his hands vs. the press and is constantly being rerouted vs. the more physical defensive backs (see 2008 Miami, Mississippi and Florida State games). He needs to do a better job of planting in order to redirect, but is still a work in progress, with just two full seasons as a college receiver. He does get to top speed suddenly, but unless he can greatly improve his strength and hand usage, he will struggle to get a release vs. NFL type jams…GRADE-5.8

Acceleration
Murphy has very good quickness off the line of scrimmage, when given room to operate. He has adequate moves to elude when covered tight, but he will struggle some to escape the hold-up. He has that extra gear to run under deep throws, but is just adequate on posts and fades. He is more comfortable using his speed to elude and turn up field after pulling in slants and crosses…GRADE-7.3

Quickness
Murphy has more than adequate quickness in and out of his break point, but struggles to get a clean release. He can create separation with his burst and does a nice job of adjusting quickly to the ball in flight. His change of direction agility lets him move quickly to uncover. He plants and accelerates well and is a bona fide deep threat with the ability to get separation…GRADE-8.2

Route Running
Murphy is an adequate route runner with the body control to make sharp cuts, but needs to improve his timing in order to finish. He does shows decent ability to stick and drive, but is better working underneath than on the deep throws (drifts). He executes good head fakes on slants, showing good stop and go action when planting and driving. His problem occurs when he starts taking false steps out of his stance, which slows down his line release…GRADE-6.0

Separation Ability
Murphy has exceptional speed, but when he false steps or fails to negotiate a release vs. the press, he will usually be stymied at the line of scrimmage (see 2008 Miami, Army and Oklahoma games). He can separate after the catch due to his second and third gear, head fakes and change of direction skills, but it looks like he hears footsteps when working over the middle. He will drop more than a fair share of passes (25 on 66 throws in 2008) when he lets the ball absorb into his body, but has the acceleration needed to gain yardage after the catch…GRADE-6.4

Ball Concentration
Murphy shows good ability to find the open area and settle into the soft spot of the zone. He is conscious of the sticks and does a good job of keeping his feet when working along the sidelines. He needs to be more aggressive combating for the ball at its high point and uses his body too much as a crutch rather than extend to catch outside his frame, despite good arm length…GRADE-5.5

Ball Adjustment
Murphy has the loose hips to make good adjustments to get to the ball in flight, but does not yet understand the concept of extending to grab the off-target throws. He can leap and make plays on the ball in the air, but could use more strength in order to win battles vs. the more physical defenders and improve his timing (will sometimes elevate earlier than he should). He is very elusive running with the ball and will not hesitate to catch in a crowd, but he needs more bulk and strength to absorb punishment working with defenders draped all over him…GRADE-6.2

Leaping Ability
Murphy has very good training room numbers, which makes it puzzling that he does not high point throws as often as he should. He has the natural hands to look the ball in, but must develop a better feel for knowing when he needs to go vertical for the pass. He gets good elevation in his leaps, but needs to utilize his burst better to stretch the defense after coming down with the ball…GRADE-5.7

Hands
Murphy has natural hands to secure the ball, but is still learning how to gain confidence in using them instead of his body. He is exciting to watch navigate through traffic with the ball in his hands, as he is not a fumble-prone type of player. He is a good hands catcher who knows how to secure the ball outside the body's frame, but needs more reps to develop confidence in this ability. He has smaller than ideal hands, but has been productive fielding the ball…GRADE-6.4

Run After the Catch
Murphy needs to use his speed better, as he will often run into spots, but he has the lose hips and blazing second gear to elude. He is developing good head and shoulder fakes and excels at taking a shallow crossing route, turning on the burners and exploding for extra yardage. With his cutting ability, he has more than enough burst to gain consistent separation, but with his lack of strength and bulk, he will go down in an instant if a defender gets a piece of him…GRADE-6.2

Blocking Ability
Murphy shows good intent to pester as a blocker, but is never going to be an impact type with that slight frame of his. He is hesitant facing up at the line of scrimmage and is still learning angle concepts as a down field blocker. Because of his marginal strength, he needs to take second level defenders out at their feet, or that opponent can easily flip him out of the way…GRADE-4.9

Compares To
CHAD JACKSON-New England…Jackson is a classic case that a "buyer beware" tag should come attached to Florida Gator receivers. Sure, both of these receivers have outstanding speed, but with marginal strength, they barely get into their routes vs. a physical press. Murphy is a track man with good hands, but needs to develop more strength and show a better feel for the ball in flight. If drafted early, it will be due to his quickness, as his production is sure to not excite.

OVERALL GRADE-6.22

CAREER NOTES


Murphy started 26-of-48 games for Florida, hauling in 77 passes for 1,245 yards (16.2 avg)…16.88% of his receptions (thirteen) produced touchdowns…Added 19 yards on three carries (6.3 avg) and attempted one pass…On special teams, he totaled 41 yards on three kickoff returns (13.7 avg) and recorded four solo tackles…Turned the ball over on a fumble just once, coming vs. Auburn in 2007…Closed out his career with a string of 27 consecutive games with at least one reception.

2008 SEASON

Started all fourteen games at flanker, as the team captain finished second on the team with 38 receptions for 655 yards (17.2 avg) and seven touchdowns…Averaged 2.71 catches and 46.79 yards receiving per game…Attempted one pass vs. Florida State…Also rushed twice for 7 yards…Caught at least one pass in every game…Caught 57.58% of the passes thrown to him (38-of-66), as 27 of his receptions produced first downs (71.05%), converting 5-of-9 third-down plays (55.56%) in the process…27 of his catches (71.05%) were good for at least 10 yards, including 14 for 20 yards or longer (36.84%)…Had key receptions to set up fourteen touchdown drives…Switched to jersey #9 from #82 prior to the season opener.

2008 GAME ANALYSIS

Hawaii…Murphy opened the season with a pair of catches for 51 yards and gained 3 yards on a reverse…He scored for the first time in 2008 when he beat a pair of defenders to turn a Tim Tebow flag pass into a third quarter 48-yard touchdown.

Miami…Three of Murphy's four receptions were good for first downs, as he totaled 77 yards…He capped a 5-play, 95-yard fourth quarter series with a 19-yard touchdown grab.

Tennessee…The flanker managed just 18 yards on two catches, but did convert one third-down snap.

Mississippi…Murphy added 41 yards on four catches, but failed to get to five other throws.

Arkansas…Murphy hauled in a season-high five passes, including three for first downs, as he generated 70 yards…Four of his grabs were good for at least 10 yards…n the fourth quarter, he set up a 6-play, 83-yard drive with 20 and 16-yard receptions, as Tim Tebow ended that possession with a 21-yard scoring strike to Percy Harvin.

Louisiana State…Murphy's only catch was a 37-yarder, but it set up Tim Tebow's 2-yard scoring ruyn that ended a 67-yard, 8-play series to give Florida a 27-14 lead at half time.

Kentucky…The team captain made two catches for 21 yards, converting on third-down throw to keep the game opening possession alive.

Georgia…Murphy's only reception came in the third quarter, turning a Tim Tebow pass into a 44-yard touchdown.

Vanderbilt…The flanker grabbed three passes, including two for first downs, as he tallied 39 yards…Hisw 19-yard reception to the Vanderbilt 13 was followed two plays later by a Tim Tebow 9-yard scoring run late in the first quarter…Talking about the team's victory after the game, the team captain stated, "We're just playing Florida football right now and we're not worried about what other teams are doing. I think our whole team is locked in right now. We're all playing our best football right now and hopefully we can keep it going. I thought we played pretty well. I mean I don't know what else we could have done to play much better than that."

South Carolina…Murphy followed with 54 yards ion four receptions, but failed to get to four other throws…He also took a direct snap from center and failed on an attempted pass…In the third stanza, the flanker snatched a 25-yard pass and then cut blocked linebacker Jasper Brinkley to spring tailback Jeffery Demps for a 38-yard touchdown run down the left sidelines…His 16-yard catch that was downed at the South Carolina 5 was followed by Tim Tebow's 5-yard scoring lob to tight end Aaron Hernandez later in the third quarter.

The Citadel…Murphy gained 24 yards on two catches, including a 16-yard score in the first quarter before the first unit sat out the second half in a 70-19 triumph.

Florida State…The team captain added two more receptions for 49 yards…His 26-yard catch of a post pass set up Tim Tebow's 24-yard touchdown psass to Aaron Hernandez with 0:57 left in the first half…On third-&-13, Tebow found Murphy with a 23-yard scoring strike to start the second half.

Alabama (Southeastern Conference Championship)…Minus All-American receiver Percy Harvin, Murphy was more than up to task to fill the void, snaring four passes, including three for first downs, as he collected a career-high 86 yards…Also added 4 yards on a reverse that was followed by a 33-yard reception that was downed at the Tide 21, where two plays later, Tim Tebow hit Riley Cooper with a 5-yard touchdown pass that ended an 8-play, 65-yard possession…Head coach Urban Meyer praised Murphy's performance after the game, telling the media, "Louis Murphy has come a long way. He lost his mom in the spring, and I lost my mom nine years ago, so we share that. We share a lot more than that. I'll keep some of that private. Louis Murphy is a very deep person, very strong person, strong in his faith and has a terrific family. We were just sharing some thoughts about that because I know she's watching him right now."

Oklahoma (BCS National Championship)…Murphy closed out his career with two receptions for 44 yards…He put the Gators ahead for good with a 20-yard touchdown catch that finished a 12-play, 86-yard second quarter series in a 24-14 win.

2007 SEASON

Murphy was the only Gator to catch at least one pass in each of the team's thirteen games, starting ten contests at flanker…Averaged 2.85 receptions and 42.15 yards receiving per game…Finished third on the team by grabbing 37 passes for 548 yards (14.8 avg) and five touchdowns…Added 12 yards on a reverse and 41 yards on three kickoff returns (13.7 avg)…Averaged 52.85 all-purpose yards per game…Turned the ball over on a fumble vs. Auburn.

2007 GAME HIGHLIGHTS

Opened the season with 20 yards on three catches vs. Western Kentucky…Made a career-high six receptions for 78 yards in the Troy game…Had 60 yards on a pair of grabs vs. Tennessee and 57 yards on two catches, including a 37-yard score vs. Mississippi…Had four receptions for 91 yards, including a career-long 66-yard touchdown late in the first quarter vs. Kentucky…Followed with a 40-yard touchdown among his three catchers for 49 yards vs. Georgia…Hauled in four passes for 58 yards that included a 32-yard score in the first quarter and a 14-yard touchdown that capped a 9-play, 62-yard second quarter possession vs. Florida State…Made just one catch for 4 yards vs. Michigan in the Capital One Bowl.

2006 SEASON

Appeared in twelve games, sitting out the Central Florida and Southern Mississippi contests…Earned starting assignments vs. Louisiana State and Florida State…His only receptions came vs. LSU, catching two balls for 42 yards and a third quarter 35-yard touchdown that capped a 5-play, 67-yard possession…Recorded three solo tackles, including one each vs. South Carolina, Arkansas and Oregon State.

2005 SEASON

Played in the final nine games of the season, mainly on special teams and five wide-out sets…Did not catch any passes on the season…Made his collegiate debut in the Kentucky game…Recorded a solo tackle vs. Mississippi State.

TRACK

Lettered on the Florida indoor track team in early 2008…Had his best performance at the Tom Jones Memorial Classic, clocking 6.36 in the 55-meter dash.

INJURY REPORT

2008- Murphy suffered a sprained right ankle in August camp (8/11) and spent a week wearing a protective boot on his foot.

2009-Murphy missed the Senior Bowl due to a minor procedure to clean out cartilage in his knee.

AGILITY TESTS

4.32 in the 40-yard dash…1.51 10-yard dash…2.52 20-yard dash…34.5-inch vertical jump… 9'9" broad jump…4.02 20-yard shuttle…6.87 three-cone drill…Bench pressed 225 pounds 12 times.


Fightin Gators Top Stories