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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Louis Murphy, WR, Florida
John Tuvey
March 20, 2009
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Louis Murphy, WR, FloridaMeasurables:
Combine height: 6-2
Combine weight: 203 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.43 seconds

Stats:
Murphy caught 38 balls for 655 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior for the national champions. For his Gator career, Murphy recorded 77 catches for 1,245 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Skill Set:
There’s no question Murphy is built to NFL wide receiver specifications, and some scouts think he may be the fastest wideout in the draft as well. But he was never really the Gators’ go-to guy, playing second fiddle first to Andre Caldwell and then Percy Harvin, and he’ll be drafted more on his potential than his production. Murphy does have decent hands, catches the ball well in traffic, and spent his first two seasons in Florida toiling primarily on special teams.

Like most college receivers, Murphy’s route-running needs plenty of polishing. And while he does have elite top-end speed he’s a long-strider who takes several steps to get up to speed. Also, his speed is mostly straight-line as he brings little elusiveness or YACability to the table. And of course Murphy will also have to battle the curse of the Gator receiver; not since Wes Chandler in 1985 has a Florida wideout made the Pro Bowl.

Possible Destinations:
Primarily because of his speed and size, Murphy will get a relatively early phone call from a team that believes they can mold him into an NFL receiver. If that call comes on Day One it will likely come late, from a team looking for a vertical threat such as the Jets (52), Eagles (53), or Ravens (57). The Colts (61), Titans (62), and Steelers (64) might also be interested as early as the second round. Murphy could also find himself pushed to the draft’s second day, where several teams in the first 10 picks—the Lions (65), Chiefs (67), and Seahawks (68), for starters—will be looking for a deep threat. If he’s still on the board when Oakland’s third-round pick rolls around… well, you know how much Al Davis likes speed.

Fantasy Impact:
Plenty of guys at the NFL level can run fast, and a few of them even mix in the ability to catch. However, until Murphy demonstrates he can capitalize on his physical gifts and raw potential he’ll likely be limited to “you go long” patterns and special teams duty. The latter does nothing for most fantasy leagues, and the former has a limited upside. So odds are you won’t need to move early to acquire Murphy’s services in your fantasy league—at least until he proves able to turn that potential into productivity.

Dynasty leaguers find themselves in virtually the same situation as NFL GMs when it comes to Murphy—with the obvious exception that they won’t have any hands-on opportunity to mold the gifted Gator into a pro wideout. His skills suggest that can be done, so if he lands on a team that can afford him such a developmental opportunity he might be worth stashing in deeper leagues. Nothing wrong with having a deep threat on your side, especially if your league rewards long touchdowns with extra points.

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