KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The quarterback position has a new body competing for a roster spot with the addition of a former accomplished Georgia signal caller.
The Chiefs drafted Aaron Murray in the fifth round (163rd overall) on Saturday, giving the team four quarterbacks on the roster ahead of organized team activities (OTAs). He joins Alex Smith, Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray.
“Really excited about this pick,” said Dom Green, Chiefs assistant director of college scouting. “Aaron’s a phenomenal leader there at Georgia, been a four-year starter. He’s the type of guy that his teammates rally around, kind of gravitate towards. Just overall, a very competitive player.”
Of course, the drafting of Murray is likely to draw speculation surrounding the current contract extension talks with Smith, the incumbent starter.
But Chiefs general manager John Dorsey shot that down with an emphatic “no” during his post-draft wrap media session Saturday night.
“What it is an indication of is he was there,” Dorsey said. “We had a shot to get him, why not take a shot to try and take this guy to better your team and add quality depth to your roster? That’s what that gives you.”
Meanwhile, the team’s new quarterback will need the competitive edge Green mentioned, as Murray returns from a non-contact ACL injury suffered in late November 2013.
Murray, a native of Tampa, Fla., said during Saturday’s media conference call that when it comes to his knee he’s “ready to go right now,” adding he’s running and jumping without restrictions.
“The doctors gave me the green light to go out there and do everything,” he said. “I’m excited to go out there and practice next week, and then OTAs and do everything.”
However, Murray’s enthusiasm may have to be tempered because Dorsey said the quarterback is at “90 percent” and has sights set for the late summer.
“I would project him – you know you don’t want to rush somebody like that – but I would say let’s see where he is in training camp and see how much progress he makes when he gets here,” Dorsey said. “That’s kind of what you’re going to look at. Everybody is going to make an assessment with him.”
With Murray, the Chiefs added a battle-tested and accomplished quarterback from the Southeastern Conference, arguably the toughest in college football.
The former Bulldog, who measures 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, finished his career at Georgia completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 13,166 yards and 121 touchdowns against 41 interceptions.
He holds SEC career records for completions (921), passing yards (13,166), touchdown passes (121) and total offense (13,562). Murray also is the first quarterback in conference history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in four straight seasons.
While his numbers are impressive, it’s another area that impressed the Chiefs.
Murray’s accuracy proved appealing when viewing him as a fit for the team’s offense, Green said. Murray met with the Chiefs scout and quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy before his Pro Day workout, and Green said Murray’s familiarity with play diagrams proved a bonus.
“He understands a lot of our verbiage,” Green said, “and a lot of the same concepts that we’re trying to get done here.”
Playing in a pro system at Georgia will also assist the transition from college to the NFL, specifically the West Coast offense the Chiefs incorporate.
“He’ll have no problem with terminology,” Dorsey said. “He’ll have no problem recognizing defenses. I think he will just jump right in with the rest of them, and as quick at studying and learning as he is, I would think he has no problem picking the stuff up.”
The new Chiefs quarterback echoed Dorsey’s thoughts.
“The scheme I had at Georgia is very similar to what they were doing up there,” Murray said. “So it’s just a perfect fit.”
In the meantime, how the Chiefs intend to incorporate Murray to the offense remains to be seen. But a certainty is there will be competition at the position and added depth.
The team clearly has a talented quarterback and he’s ready to jump into competition.
“Obviously, if they draft you they want you to go in there and compete,” Murray said. “That’s my goal right now, to go in there and compete and work as hard as I can, and we’ll see what happens from there.”