MOBILE, Ala. — Aaron Murray didn't take so much as a snap at the Senior Bowl last month, but two months after a knee injury that ended his college career, the former Plant High and Georgia star embraced an opportunity to interact with pro coaches and scouts as he prepares for the NFL draft.
"I want to get them to know about my personality a little bit," said Murray, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Nov. 23, missing the final two games of a four-year run as the Bulldogs' starter. "I'm still going to all the meetings, doing everything. I just can't throw out here and practice."
Two months into his rehabilitation, Murray remains optimistic he can work out for scouts at Georgia's pro day, which is April 16, giving him more than two months to continue his physical progress. The injury has hurt his draft position, but the Tampa native is still rated by ESPN as the No. 8 quarterback and is projected as a mid- to late-round pick.
"I'm way ahead. I feel awesome, and I'm getting better every day," said Murray, 23, who has been training in Pensacola with other draft hopefuls.
Murray, who led Plant to a state championship in 2008, was one of the Senior Bowl's first invites in the fall and had accepted before his injury. Game organizers allowed him to come to Mobile, though most players who aren't able to compete are replaced by others.
"We said he's welcome to come in, go to team meetings, the interviews. We thought it'd be a good experience for him, and he really hopped on that opportunity," said former Browns general manager Phil Savage, now executive director of the Senior Bowl. "It shows he's very serious about knowing this was an opportunity to get in front of all 32 teams, to work with the Jaguars and make some connections. He realized it's important to make a good first impression with these teams, and I admire him for doing it."
Murray passed for more than 3,000 yards in all four of his seasons at Georgia, the first SEC quarterback to do so, and is the Bulldogs' and SEC career leader in touchdown passes (121), passing yards (13,166) and total offense (13,562). For now, all he can show the NFL is his commitment to improve and the mental aspects of being a quarterback, but he's accomplished that.
"He's been great. He's been in the meetings, taking notes," said Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, whose staff coached the South team. "You'd think he would come in and just listen, but he's going through the week like he's playing. Very intelligent, and you can tell he has a certain spirit for the games."
Murray, who was measured at 6 feet, 201 pounds, hasn't yet had the physical tests of throwing and competing against other elite college players, but his initial interviews have given him a taste of the predraft evaluation process, with more to come in the next three months.
"This is more fun than nervous. I'm having a great time getting to know these coaches and players," he said. "You just have to have fun and keep a positive attitude."