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NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Minnesota CB Eric Murray

Eric Murray could be another option for the Patriots at CB in the 2016 draft.

Eric Murray is the safe pick at CB for the Patriots, but he also has upside.
Eric Murray is the safe pick at CB for the Patriots, but he also has upside.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

If you want a break from the free agent talk, you can discuss another potential CB prospect. While Sean Davis presents upside at the position, Eric Murray presents more security and is a plug and play player. Murray posted solid measurables across the board with a 4.49 40, 1.54 split, 39.5" vertical, 10'4" broad jump, 4.05 short shuttle, 7.08 3-Cone, and 11.19 long shuttle. Obviously as a 3-Cone Purist, I would have preferred a time around 6.80, but one bad measurable is not going to kill a player's draft stock. He'll have his Pro Day to try to get a more ideal time.

Murray stands at 5'10.5" 199, which is about the average size for a cornerback in the NFL, so he should be a highly-touted prospect for the draft. Murray's athleticism shows up on tape and plays well in different coverages. He's very good in Press-Man, which fits the New England defensive scheme very well. He's not afraid to get physical against WRs at the top of routes and on screens. Murray has good short-area burst that will allow him to recover when beat, although receivers with sub 4.40 speed might be able to separate from him vertically. That's not an issue because most routes don't last 40 yards.

So where can Murray fit in with the team in the short and long term? With Logan Ryan set to become an unrestricted free agent along with Malcolm Butler set to become a restricted free agent, you can argue the long term need at the position. Murray would project as the #4 CB on the roster behind Butler, Ryan, and 2nd year player Justin Coleman. In Year 1, Murray would have to make his way on Special Teams primarily and wait for an opportunity to get action. In Year 2, he would compete with Justin Coleman for the boundary role with the loser of that battle moving to the slot.

At a position you cannot have enough quality depth, I have no problem spending a 2nd round pick on a corner despite already having three quality players at the top of the depth chart. The Patriots had depth problems at the position when it seemed the entire roster was significantly injured in some capacity in the middle of the 2015 season where they had Patrick Chung play the nickel role and Tavon Wilson played the dime role. Obviously the Patriots don't want another situation like that in 2016. Murray is on my 2nd round board and I have a very good feeling the Patriots will have a shot at him with the 60th pick.

For extra reading, here's a scouting report of Eric Murray from another website I like to talk about football.