Stunner: Chiefs draft a QB -- and a good one -- in Aaron Murray
MAY 10, 2014 8:58p ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's not often that a team's fifth-round pick creates a far bigger stir among its fan base than its first-round pick.
But that was the case with the Chiefs' selection of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray in the fifth round Saturday.
Chiefs Nation's Twitter nearly exploded, responding with a resounding "Yes!" to the pick.
Clamoring for years for the Chiefs to draft and develop a capable quarterback, fans finally got their wish in what was just general manager John Dorsey's second draft in Kansas City.
"Aaron was a phenomenal leader there at Georgia, been a four-year starter," Chiefs assistant director of college scouting Dom Green said. "He's the type of guy that his teammates rally around and kind of gravitate towards, just an overall very competitive player."
Dorsey saw the same thing.
"He's a winner," Dorsey said. "He has won at every stage of his career."
And, at least to fans, the selection of Murray was anything but a reach.
The fan base has tolerated other quarterback draft picks that were stretches -- the Brodie Croyles and Ricky Stanzies -- only to watch them fall by the wayside.
In fact, the Chiefs haven't had a drafted quarterback who won a game for the franchise since Todd Blackledge, picked in 1983.
Murray, though, comes with an impressive resume.
Murray, 6 feet 1 and 207 pounds, competed in the SEC -- the nation's top conference -- where he demonstrated a knack for big plays. He is the SEC's all-time leader in completions (921), passing yards (13,166) and passing touchdowns (121).
Murray's strength? The deep throw, according to most scouts.
"He can make all the throws," Dorsey said.
But just how Murray fits on the Chiefs' depth chart will be interesting to follow in the coming months. He certainly wasn't drafted to be released.
"If they draft you, they must want you to come in and compete," Murray said. "That's my goal right now."
The Chiefs already have starter Alex Smith, backup Chase Daniel and developmental quarterback Tyler Bray.
The Chiefs could save $1.4 million if they were to release Daniel. Bray, though, seems the most vulnerable. Although the Chiefs love his arm strength, he was slow to grasp the pro system.
Murray likely won't have those issues since he already has played in a pro passing system at Georgia.
Murray's senior season ended because of a torn ACL, but he has indicated he will be ready to go for practice this month.
"I'm ready to go right now," Murray said. "I'm doing everything -- running, jumping, all my dropbacks, all my rollouts. There are no restrictions.
"The doctors gave me the green light to go out there and do everything, so I'm excited to get out there."
Dorsey, though, indicated Saturday that Murray likely wouldn't be full strength until training camp in July.
Chiefs first-round pick Dee Ford, who's projected as a situational pass rusher, was met with less than enthusiasm from the fan base, though that's hardly a concern for Dorsey and coach Andy Reid.
Dorsey and Reid know full well that during the second half of 2013 and in the Chiefs' playoff collapse to Indianapolis, defense was the weak link for this team. Specifically, the team's lack of pass rush exposed a suspect secondary.
"With the way the game is played today," Dorsey said, "you need speed on the pass rush."
Enter Ford, a speed rusher from Auburn who will learn from some of the best -- namely, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
The Chiefs' brain trust also invested a third-round pick in cornerback Phillip Gaines out of Rice. At 6-1 and 185, Gaines fits the mold of Dorsey's type of corner -- tall and rangy.
But the stir was Murray.
The last quarterback the Chiefs drafted was Stanzi, who came out of Iowa in 2011. Stanzi was completely overmatched at the pro level and the Chiefs wound up cutting him last August.
-- Fourth round: De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon (5-9, 174). There's little doubt that Thomas will be replacing Dexter McCluster. Thomas probably was the fastest guy in the draft (4.34 in the 40). Kansas State fans surely will remember him: He returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl, stunning everyone with how quickly he raced through and past everyone.
-- Fifth round: Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia (6-1, 207). Oh, my. The Chiefs went out and got themselves perhaps a quarterback for the future. Of course, there will be a lot of question marks, like his lack of mobility and, as with all college quarterbacks, his ability to transition to the pros. But make no mistake: He will be their developmental QB. That means Bray or Daniel will be gone.
-- Sixth round: Zach Fulton, G, Tennessee (6-5, 316). Fulton was described by some scouts as a project. But Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto says Fulton is "pro ready."
"We were surprised at how athletic he is for his size," Sperduto said. "Just a big, strong athlete. He plays the game hard."
-- Sixth round: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OT, McGill (6-5, 298). Oh, Canada! Duvernay-Tardif hails from Montreal and McGill University. The Chiefs spotted him at the East-West Shrine Game and will take a chance on him as a project. He speaks French (obviously) and actually is in his third year of med school, with one year left before he becomes a doctor. "He dominated in Canada," Sperduto said. "And he should have dominated because the level of play was a notch below (football in the United States). He's a smart, intellectual type of player, but he also can play with a mean streak."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.