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NFL Draft Profile: Missouri's Marcus Murphy

One of the most electrifying returners in football the past three years has been Marcus Murphy. In 2014, Murphy rushed for 973 yards and four touchdowns and also caught 28 passes for 212 yards and another score.

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Marcus Murphy, Running Back/Receiver, Missouri

HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 193 lbs
HANDS: 8 5/8
40-YARD DASH: 4.61 SEC

Marcus Murphy may not be drafted until Day 3, but he could be a valuable commodity for teams in need of a special teams play-maker.

The 5'8", 193-pound Murphy was one of the most electrifying players in the SEC over the past two years. He finished his college career with 2,837 punt and kickoff return yards and seven touchdowns scored via kickoffs (five) and punts (two).

Murphy racked up 1,970 total yards this past season as a runner, receiver, kickoff returner and punt returner. That was after leading the Tigers in all-purpose yards as a junior with 1,425 yards.

In 2014, Murphy rushed for 973 yards and four touchdowns and also caught 28 passes for 212 yards and another score. He averaged 10.4 yards per punt return and was also Missouri's leading kick returner with a 29.6 average and two more touchdowns.

Though he'll be a late-round pick, Murphy looks like someone who can step in and immediately challenge for the kickoff and/or punt returner job for many NFL teams. The good thing about his versatility is with, say, a team like the Bengals who are loaded at RB, they could carry him as a WR. As for a team like Denver that's loaded at WR, they could carry Murphy as a RB.

Either way, Murphy isn't a guy you're ever going to give 20+ touches to in one game on a consistent basis. His small body won't hold up in the NFL taking that kind of a beating. His best-case scenario is as a backup RB behind an established starter.

Here's his profile:

STRENGTHS: Has the foot quickness and acceleration to make something out of nothing when called upon as a runner. Needs to play in space, but has quality traits for a runner, despite size. Has enough speed to turn the corner and hit a big run down the sideline. In passing game, mismatches inside 'backers with razor-sharp cuts to the sideline, creating easy throws for the quarterback. Looks to adjust his routes over the top of coverage if quarterback scrambles. Has excellent hands and concentration to finish a catch despite impending contact.

BOTTOM LINE: All-purpose running back with a lean frame and a big heart. Showed consistency of effort and production during his time at Missouri. His value as a runner is limited due to his size, but he has the potential to become a legitimate target out of the backfield and might warrant some reps in camp as a slot receiver.

NFL COMPARISON: Dexter McCluster

WEAKNESSES: Needs to improve his reads and feel on stretch plays flowing outside. Small running back with limited amount of carries he can offer in a given game. Tends to float in space as a receiver rather than working back to the ball. Doesn't make the sharp, downhill cuts expected from him as a running back. Missed 2011 with a shoulder injury. He tries to get in the way as a pass blocker, but lacks bulk and strength to be trusted with blitz pickup on next level.