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Insider

Look at Demarco Murray, Mark Herzlich

1/24/2011

Every day of practice, we'll pick two players from this year's Senior Bowl and look at how they're doing so far and what it's meant to their draft status.

Boston College LB Mark Herzlich

Herzlich measured in at 6-3.5 and 250 pounds. He could have been better defined but he carried the weight well and didn't look soft. When he's on the field, he does things you love to see like being the first guy in line for a drill and his motor is always running. He is a big kid with long strides and can cover a lot of ground. He shows good range. During team period, he made a great read, shot the gap before an offensive lineman could put a body on him and wrapped up Maryland RB Da'Rel Scott in the backfield.

But it's also clear why his stock has dropped. He doesn't have the closing burst he showed prior to his battle with bone cancer, he's not getting to as many balls as he used to and a glaring issue is his stiffness in space. He really struggled to open it up in zone coverage and it wasn't just one play; he was consistently struggling. He also struggled in man coverage, including one play where he tried to stay with Nebraska TE Mike McNeill but Herzlich stumbled coming out of his break and had to grab on to McNeill to keep him from being open. He obviously won't get away with that in the NFL.

It's impossible not to root for Herzlich with all he's been through, but you can't ignore what you're seeing. Right now, he's a Day 3 pick, but he's also played like a first-rounder in the past. It's going to be a tough decision for any team and a lot will come down to the medical reports and a team's belief whether or not he will regain that first-round form.

Oklahoma RB Demarco Murray

Murray, who measured in at 6 feet and 214 pounds, is lean in the lower body. That could explain why he gets tripped up and goes down too easily. He has to get stronger in his lower body and also needs to learn to run with his legs higher. He's had that problem throughout his career and we saw it today as well. But he has the best burst and was the most explosive of the North running backs. He hit a crease faster than the other backs. During one-on-one passing drills, he looks like a wide receiver. He runs crisp routes, knows how to separate, has strong hands and makes it look effortless. It's obvious he's had more experience than most backs, having worked in the slot and been very involved in the passing game at Oklahoma.

There were a couple times he tried to bounce runs outside when he didn't need to but his quickness and athleticism really stood out today. He used his stiff-arm well and does a good job of not letting defenders get to his body or get a good shot on him. It's too bad Kansas State's Daniel Thomas, who was originally scheduled to be here, didn't make it. We have a slightly higher grade on Thomas and it would have been nice to see the competition. Now, it's Murray's job to prove he's the best back on the North team, with his biggest competition probably coming from Oklahoma State's Kendall Hunter.

Right now, without durability concerns, Murray is a late first-round to second-round pick. If he slides, it's because his durability issues at OU are a concern and NFL teams fear they will continue in the NFL.