Tim Tebow, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel are just a few of the more prolific passing products of the SEC in the last few years. But none were able to produce as much as Aaron Murray did during his time at Georgia.
The SEC career leader in total offense, passing yards, completions and touchdown passes now faces a different kind of challenge: prove to NFL scouts that the ACL injury he suffered against Kentucky last season will not affect his future performance in the NFL.
"I see Dr. Andrews pretty much about every week. Right now the knee is feeling awesome and fully expect come April 16, our Pro Day, I'll be full go doing everything out there for our Pro Day," Murray said.
Murray was only able to interview with teams at the NFL Combine and was relegated to the sidelines at the Senior Bowl. But he thinks he has done more than enough to prove what he can bring to a professional team already.
"I have 52 games," Murray said. "I think I have more film than any other quarterback in this draft right now. Obviously I would have loved to go out there and participate and compete, and go out there and show what I can do. But I couldn't and we'll see what happens."
In those 52 games, Murray has shown an ability to steadily but continually improve as both a passer and a leader. He will need to continue to do so if he wishes to succeed at the next level.
Murray has grown to excel at throwing timing routes and being smart enough to check down when he needs to. When he has time, he has the ability to make any throw.
One thing Murray cannot improve on is his size. At just over 6-0 and 207 pounds, some scouts are wary of his ability to take hits and continue playing – despite starting 52 straight games in the SEC.
Murray will also have to adjust his throwing mechanics to adjust to NFL defensive linemen. He has a low delivery that results in a lot of tipped passes at the line of scrimmage throughout his career at Georgia.
With his size and playing style, obvious comparisons are drawn to Saints QB Drew Brees.
"I model my game after Drew Brees," Murray said. "Obviously there's the height comparison. It's not only that but just the way he plays on the field. He's the ultimate competitor, and he's the ultimate leader."
Prior to 2013 Murray was seen as a solid quarterback, but one who failed to produce the big win. With wins over South Carolina and LSU, followed by an overtime victory over Tennessee - as more and more of his offensive teammates became sidelined due to injuries - that narrative was forgotten.
"That was probably the most fun I've ever had playing football in my time at Georgia," Murray said about the 44-41 win over LSU. "It was a huge win for us as a program, just with all the negativity swirling around Georgia can't win the big games. To win versus a top-10 opponent, College Game Day there, it was a special time."
Murray is seen as a fourth or fifth round pick by most draft projectors, although with a solid pro day on April 16th his stock could improve. He would likely thrive in a West Coast system that plays to his strengths of quick drops, timing routes, and minimal reads.
"You definitely want to get the right fit. You want to have the right coach. I think I had one of the best offensive coaches and quarterback coaches in [Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo] at Georgia and those guys have really helped me along the way," Murray said. "I look forward to another great coach in the NFL that's going to help me continue to develop."