Fourth QB Possibilities: Aaron Murray

The first of a series of profiles on the mid- to late-round quarterback prospects leads off with Georgia's prolific Aaron Murray. Murray is coming off a torn ACL and stands just 6-foot but his production in a top conference is without question.

For more of the last four seasons, the Green Bay Packers have carried only two quarterbacks on their active roster. That had not been a big issue for the team because, until 2013, Aaron Rodgers had remained relatively healthy and able to start almost every meaningful game.

Last season, however, the Packers finally got burned by this strategy. After Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman and Vince Young were unable to hold down the job as the backup quarterback, the Packers signed Seneca Wallace just six days before the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

Disaster struck when Wallace was pressed into duty on Nov. 4 after Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone on the first series against the Chicago Bears. Wallace finished the game, and was named the starting quarterback for a game six days later against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Disaster continued to strike the Packers at the most important position. Wallace was injured on the first series against the Eagles and Scott Tolzien, who was signed to the practice squad the same day Wallace was added to the active roster, finished the game and the Packers lost 27-13.

Tolzien would start two games before being replaced by Matt Flynn, whom the Packers signed after Wallace was injured. Tolzien showed some skills but floundered against the Minnesota Vikings, and Flynn led a comeback that resulted in a tie. That tie turned out to be monumental, as it became the difference between the Packers winning the division or working on their golf games in early December.

The Packers are set at starting quarterback, Tolzien remains on the roster and Flynn is a player that coach Mike McCarthy would like re-signed. Even if they do bring back Flynn, McCarthy said he would like four quarterbacks on the roster when they convene for training camp in late July.

"We're in a different era training quarterbacks and your specialists. I would hope we'd have four in camp. But we'll see how the whole 90-man roster thing shakes out," McCarthy said to reporters at the NFL annual meetings.

Clearly, the Packers will not be in the market for Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel or Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater. One third-day option could be Georgia's Aaron Murray.

Murray is one of the more decorated quarterbacks in SEC history but suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 23 that could cause him to drop in the draft. Murray started all four seasons for the Bulldogs, and topped 3,000 passing yards in all four seasons. He finished 35-17 as a starter, and was the leader of a talented offense that scored a lot of points in college football's toughest conference.

Aside from the injury, the big knock on Murray is he's just 6-foot. Although Russell Wilson won the Super Bowl while standing 5-foot-11, NFL scouts and executives prefer quarterbacks to be taller to see over the offensive and defensive lines and find throwing lanes.

Murray, however, does not believe his height will be a problem because of his experiences during college.

"I really haven't had any trouble at all," he said at the Scouting Combine. "I think it was two or three years ago, we had, on paper, the biggest offensive line in the world. We had the biggest offensive line in college and pro. We averaged like 6-4, 6-5, like 320 pounds, and I threw for like 35 or 36 touchdowns that year. So, no problems at all. As a quarterback, you're not really looking over offensive linemen. You're looking through throwing lanes. You just have to be able to use your feet, maneuver around the pocket, be able to stay in the position and throw the ball accurately and deliver the strike." Murray delivered plenty of strikes for the Bulldogs. He is a skilled passer that excels in the short and intermediate game. While McCarthy does like to have a vertical passing presence, he adapted well to Flynn's skills. From that standpoint, Murray would fit the Packers' system perfectly.

Former teammate Arthur Lynch believes Murray is the perfect quarterback for any offense, and that he brings necessary leadership to the position.

"He's the epitome of what you want in a quarterback," Lynch told's Andy Staples at the Senior Bowl. "He is out here and can't even drop back, but he's taking mental reps and helping quarterbacks that are essentially his competition. He's encouraging me. What else could you ask for?"

Murray has been criticized for never guiding Georgia to an SEC title. It lost in the championship game against LSU in 2011 and Alabama in 2012. Those criticisms have been heard by Murray but, more importantly, by his opponents.

"If I had to think of one word (to describe Murray) it would be ‘underrated,'" said former LSU linebacker Lamin Barrow after the Tigers lost to Murray behind his four touchdown passes.

He continued, "…I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He made some plays against us where I thought we had him sack and then whoop its right over your head."

Murray projects as a mid- to late-round quarterback, which is something the Packers will be looking to add. Adding Murray to the quarterback room would give them a quarterback with a good pedigree, and someone that has a chip on his shoulder.

Jacob Westendorf is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and an intern for Packer Report. E-mail him at Find Jacob on Twitter at

Packer Report Top Stories