Acceleration/Burst/Quickness: Has the burst to separate from defenders, but does not show the quickness of other top backs in this class. Murray’s game is not about burst and quickness as much as it is hard-nosed, fundamentally sound running. Can plant and accelerate.
Ball Protection: Must learn to run with lower pad height to protect the ball, and himself, from hits. Can carry the ball too low, and too far away from his midsection. Very similar to Adrian Peterson in running style and ball protection. Did improve in 2010 with only one fumble, which he recovered.
Elusiveness/Feet/Agility: Is not an elusive runner, choosing instead to punish would-be tacklers. He does give tacklers too much of an opening to hit him, with his height and tall running style. Does a good job making one cut and then deciding where to go. Has jumped over defenders before, showing top-notch agility and strength.
Pass Catching: A very able and dangerous receiver from the backfield or in the slot. Has worked as a receiver and return man in addition to duties at running back. Has experience running routes and does a very solid job running to the flats, catching and pivoting, without losing speed.
Pass Blocking: Murray is an NFL-ready three-down back due to his ability as a receiver and blocker. Has the size to hold-up against the pass rush and the technique to deliver a solid block that will protect the quarterback. Does more than just get in the way. Will initiate contact. Is a good cut blocker. Not afraid to get dirty and mix it up. One of, if not the very best, blocker in this class.
Power: Is a classic north-south runner. Is tough to bring down between the tackles. Does a good job falling forward for extra yards. Fights for yards and is tough to bring down. Has good set-up moves and will deliver a blow instead of waiting to be tackled. Can look timid at times, while other times looks dominant running with authority. Has a good stiff-arm.
Size/Length/Hand Size: Has ideal size for a three-down back. Is a little taller than the majority of the backs in this class, but has a more classical build similar to Eddie George and Adrian Peterson.
Speed: Has been called a speed back, but is more of an inside runner with the speed to make plays on the outside. Has a solid second-gear and can run away from defenders if he gets out in the open.
Vision/Balance/Instincts: Is a patient runner with the balance to turn the corner. Has good vision and will find cutbacks and seams in the line. Is not afraid to press the line and force his way through an opening. Runs with his head down a lot, limiting his vision.
Final Word: In other years Murray might receive more hype as a top back, but in 2011 he is lost behind a Heisman Trophy winner and other backs with a more complete game.
One concern is that Murray may have been used too much in college. The Sooners rode Murray often, leaving the school No. 4 all-time in rushing attempts (744). Other concerns are his frequent injuries, which may be small in nature- but add up over time.
Murray has also been inconsistent at times, which may be in part to changes at quarterback and on the offensive line. Coaches viewing his 2009 season are apt to walk away unimpressed, while his 2010 film was very impressive at times.
The running back class this season is deep, which could push Murray to the late 2nd Round, or later.