The Lions believe they have their star runningback in Jahvid Best but that doesn’t mean they won’t look to add to the offensive backfield as soon as the 2011 NFL draft. Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray came to Detroit to visit with the Lions on March 28.
Could he be in the Lions draft plans?
DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Weight: 213 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 in.
Hand Size: 9 1/4 in.
40-yard dash: 4.41 sec.
Broad jump: 10’4″
Murray is an explosive athlete that has a chance to develop into a featured back in the NFL, but he has a lot of miles on his tires. He runs very well and has an extra gear to take it to the house when he gets a seam. His high cut frame gives him the look of a wide receiver and his precise route running and soft hands make him a weapon on third down. He does not have the power to push the pile, and has missed a lot of time due to injury. Murray will probably be a second day pick.
I’ll admit to being at least a little bit intrigued by DeMarco Murray as a mid-round draft pick. It might seem puzzling to some if the Lions take him since he projects as more of a third down back, which typically possess a skill set that the Lions already have with Jahvid Best, but I have enough trust in the coaching staff to believe they could use Murray in creative and effective ways. The National Football Post scouting report hits on why I feel this way:
A violent slashing type running back who has improved his bulk and overall feel inside. I still don’t think you want this guy starting for you at the next level. But as an X-factor type who can line up all over an offense and create, I think he can certainly add an element to an NFL offense.
I read this and think of Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings. Harvin played out of the backfield a lot as a Florida Gator but rarely lines up there in the NFL. The Vikings are able to position him all over the field and put the ball in his hands in a variety of ways.
He could fit more of a need than a luxury for the Lions if he proves to have an ability to line up outside as a wide receiver, which some scouting reports indicates he is built more like than a running back anyway. One of the Lions’ secondary needs is adding a speedy wide receiver to the solid base they have in Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson. Abilene Christian wide receiver Edmond Gates is receiving some attention for his 4.37 40-yard dash time at the combine but that is just a fraction faster than the 4.41 that Murray put up. I can see the Lions being interested in Murray if he can fill their need for speed at receiver while providing more offensive versatility than a straight-up receiver prospect. There is a lot of ifs in that equation but it should be enough for the Lions to do their due diligence.
Murray had some injury concerns during his career at Oklahoma but still left the university as their all time leader in all-purpose yards. The scouting reports don’t indicate that anyone will view him as a full time feature running back but that doesn’t mean he can’t provide real value to an NFL team. It is all a matter of finding the right situations to use him.
DeMarco Murray is under consideration to be featured on the cover of NCAA Football 12 from EA Sports. A facebook page has been set up for a fan vote to determine the winner.
I’m interested to know what other Lions fans think about the possibility of adding DeMarco Murray to the offense. Does he bring a needed dimension or would he be too much of a luxury pick?