Position Ranking: #2
Strengths: A very good athlete with dynamic qualities; gamebreaking ability. Solid and muscular build with even distribution in both upper and lower body. Very good speed to get to the perimeter on stretch runs and shows a second gear once he turns upfield. Impressive short area burst/quickness for his size. Decisive to the line of scrimmage and won’t hesitate to hit the crease between the tackles. Light on his feet, balanced, and can stop and start momentum on a dime. Runs with good pad level and works to fall forward when finishing his runs. Consistently slips linebackers in space and is sharp in and out of cuts. Patient and waits for blocks to develop. Soft hands in the passing game and was as much a receiver as a running back for Oklahoma. All-purpose player who was asked to return kicks, play tailback, and run passing routes. Has improved his route running year to year and was one of teams most reliable receivers; over 150 receptions. Alert and physical in pass protection. Runs a 4.42 40 yard dash.
Needs Improvement: Running strength is only adequate for his size; often goes down on square contact. More of a finesse runner and will bounce left to right when straight ahead will get positive yards. Doesn’t always work to move the pile and lacks the overall strength in lower body to do so consisistently. Has only missed a handful of games in four year career but always seems to be playing with nagging injuries. Downfield vision.
Bottom Line: DeMarco Murray has the ideal combination of size and athletic ability for the running back position at the NFL level. He was given plenty of responsibility at Oklahoma during his time there and improved in every area of his game year to year. His gamebreaking ability wasn’t always on display game to game however, and I believe this had to do with his heavy workload as an all-purpose player.
Murray will need to develop a more physical mindset at the next level and work to add functional strength, especially in the lower body, as he won’t have the wide open running lanes he did in college. Vision could also improve as he didn’t always seem to anticipate blocking downfield and find the second level cutback lanes. Overall, his versatility will be a huge asset to teams and the argument can be made that Murray is as good a receiver as he is a running back. His constant bout with nagging injuries is a slight concern and will need to be looked at closely by teams. As long as he stays healthy, Murray should continue to be a productive player at the next level.
Draft Projection: 1st round.