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2016 NFL Draft: Eric Murray prospect profile

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Niners Nation's Greg Valerio is back with a scouting profile of Minnesota's cornerback, Eric Murray.

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota boasted a fantastic cornerback duo of Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray, the meat and strength of the Gopher's defense. Murray may not be highly touted as other premier cornerback prospects in this years' draft class, but his tape, steady production, physical play, and excellent technique should open some eyes for this underrated prospect. A former high school wrestler and baseball center fielder, Murray is a self-dedicated extremely competitive and hardworking individual always looking to improve his game. He even ran high school track one year just to get better. The three-year starter leads by example and is a team-first humble guy, rarely does a lot of talking (introvert), but lets his physical and aggressive play speak for itself.

The Basics

School: Minnesota
Jersey No.: 31
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 199
Arm: 31 3/4"
Hand: 9"
40 Yard Dash: 4.49 (tied for 13th for top performer in 40 YD Dash)
10 Yard Split: 1.54
Vertical Jump: 39.5" (ranked 3rd for top performer in Vertical Jump)
Broad Jump: 10'4" (tied 7th for top performer in Broad Jump)
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.05 (ranked 5th for top performer in 20 YD Shuttle)
3-Cone Drill: 7.08 (ranked 15th for top performer in 3-Cone Drill)
Bench Press: 15 (tied for 13th for top performer in Bench Press)

How the measurables translate for cornerbacks
When looking at the measurables for cornerbacks, keep in mind of some minimum measurable targets cornerbacks should be expected to target as a minimum result. For the most part, prospects exceeding these minimal targets tend to find success in the NFL.

Cornerbacks
40 Yard Dash - Minimum Target: 4.55
10 Yard Split - Minimum Target: 1.60
Vertical Jump - Minimum Target: 36"
Broad Jump - Minimum Target: 10'0"
20 Yard Shuttle - Minimum Target: 4.00
3-Cone Drill - Minimum Target: 7.00
Bench Press - Minimum Target: 15

Do Your Homework

Watch highlights of Murray against TCUIowaTCU and San Jose State University (2014)Ohio State (2014), and watch a highlight montage featured below:

Pros

  • Very physical, aggressive, and strong corner with impressive flexibility, balance, fluid hips, quick feet, agility, change of direction skills, and explosion.
  • A lockdown corner, Murray displays his physicalness and patience excelling in press coverage riding the receiver downfield staying at the hip pocket hounding and nagging receivers like a mosquito seeking fresh blood.
  • Attacks receivers with active violent hands impeding them from getting into their routes redirecting them towards the sidelines.
  • Displays excellent awareness, speed, and football intelligence impressively skilled in off and zone coverages, where he shows quick read and reaction skills, burst with impressive closing speed, solid ball skills, and a fierce and reliable tackler hitting with explosion.
  • Showcases a grit and eagerness in run support, and blitzes with purpose playing with a workmanlike intensity.
  • A special teams stalwart bringing desired value at the next level.
  • Displays leadership qualities both on and off the field, high work ethic, and team-first type player.

Cons

  • Does not possess the ideal height and elite game speed for the position.
  • Needs to work on his feet, struggles a bit on back pedal, and shows a bit of a hang-up flipping his hips.
  • Physical and aggressive nature on the field at times gets the best of him causing him to retreat to recovery mode, and whiffs on some tackles.
  • Grabby. Murray's aggressive and physical style tends to lead to a lot of hand grabbing/holding, which will produce many penalties at the next level. Working more with his feet, and less with his hands, should help rectify this problem.
  • Although Murray has an impressive 24 career pass deflections, ball skills will need some improvement with only 2 career interceptions to his name.

College Stats:
Check out Eric Murray's stats at Sports Reference College Football.

Round Projection:
3rd-4th

Conclusion:

The 49ers have a lot of young talent at cornerback, but they have yet secured a true number one corner on the roster. Tramaine Brock has been a solid number two corner, but there has been a revolving door at the other corner position trying to find the perfect fit, where consistency may be needed in order to solidify the position. Although Eric Murray would be an excellent fit with his physical press coverage style, sound awareness, and his willingness and reliability in run support, he is not a true number one corner candidate. However, with the hopeful improvement from our edge defenders (optimal word is "hopeful") in rushing the passer, Murray's skill-set would truly shine, and we know Trent Baalke has a penchant for drafting corners mid to late rounds. For the record, Baalke was not only present for Minnesota's pro day, but he was also in attendance at Minnesota's game late in the college football season (Week 11).