Now that the season is over, we’ll be looking at the players the Jets have signed to futures deals since the end of the season. We continue today with a look at offensive lineman Jimmy Murray.
The 24-year old is listed at 6’5” and 304 pounds and was undrafted out of Holy Cross in 2018. He has played in two NFL games with the Kansas City Chiefs, albeit only on special teams.
Murray was originally a walk-on at Holy Cross, but started the last 40 games of his career and was a two-time second-team all-Patriot League selection.
He wasn’t widely expected to be drafted but had a good camp with the Chiefs before being released in final cuts and placed on the practice squad. He was activated later in the year and remained on the roster until the end of the season although he was only active twice, for special teams duties.
In 2019, he was again released in final cuts and this time only remained on the practice squad for a week before being released. He signed to the Jets’ practice squad in November and then signed a futures deal at the end of the season despite also having been drafted by the XFL’s St Louis Battlehawks.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Murray brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Murray has good size and is regarded as a good athlete. He ran a solid 5.16 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day and posted 25 bench press reps and a 27.5-inch vertical jump, which are about average.
Murray’s versatility is regarded as one of his best traits. Having served as a back-up in his redshirt freshman year, he moved into the starting line-up at right guard. He then moved to center for the next two years and finished his career at the left tackle position as a senior.
In preseason action with the Chiefs he only played center in 2018. However, in 2019, he also saw action at left guard.
Murray did a solid job of limiting pressure in his preseason action with the Chiefs. There were plenty of plays where his man gained an advantage with a quick initial move or got upfield leverage on him, but he moved his feet well to battle back into the play.
Against a bull rush, he shows an ability to re-anchor but was often moved off his spot or thrown off balance by his opponent’s initial thrust. This play sees Murray (#67) driven back off his spot and into the quarterback’s lap so he is unable to step up when pressure comes off the edge.
With the Chiefs, Murray did a good job of limiting his mistakes in the running game but did not have a lot of impact blocks.
On this play, for example, he pulls out to the right and looks good on the move. However, he overshoots the defensive end and is unable to kick him out or seal him on the outside.
This play sees him unable to prevent the nose tackle (former Jet Deon Simon) from shooting the gap and blowing up a run that ends up in a turnover.
Murray shows some ability to get out in front of screen passes on his college film but didn’t really get a chance to show those skills with the Chiefs.
On this play, the Chiefs run a screen but Murray is unable to get a clean release after being pushed back at the snap and ends up tripping over before he can get out in front to block someone.
Murray is more of a battler than a technically refined blocker but does seem to have some understanding of how to win leverage battles. On this short yardage conversion, he does an excellent job of staying on his man.
He can be slow to get the first punch in, which can lead to him losing ground at the snap. On this play, that enables the pass rusher to get some penetration and bat down the pass, something which happened a couple of times in preseason action.
Murray was called for one holding penalty in preseason, on this play where he executed well, but couldn’t resist grabbing with the outside hand as the runner turned the corner.
There were also a couple of plays where his linemates false-started with him at center, which may have been attributable to him snapping the ball at the wrong time.
Finally, he could have been called for a hold on a couple of plays where he took his man to the ground at the point of attack.
Murray has only contributed as a blocker on the placekicking unit so far in his career and likely wouldn’t be expected to play on any other units.
Murray is regarded as an intelligent player who won some academic honors while in college and should have a good understanding of offensive schemes with his experience of playing multiple offensive line positions.
When pass protecting he does a good job of keeping his head on a swivel when he’s the spare man and goes looking for work. However, he had mixed results at dealing with stunts and blitz packages in preseason action.
On this play, he does well, picking up the defensive lineman so that the left guard can release and pick up the delayed blitz.
However, the communication breaks down here as the left tackle passes off his man, but Murray doesn’t pick him up. That leads to a quarterback hit and a pick-six.
Murray has been praised for his work ethic, commitment, effort and passion. Having made it all the way from a small-school walk-on to seeing regular season NFL action is an impressive rise.
In the trenches he battles hard, plays to the whistle and flashes nastiness. His college highlight reel has plenty of dominant blocks like this on it.
However, he’s yet to be able to display the same kind of dominance at the NFL level, which is hardly surprising with such a jump in the level of competition.
Injuries damaged Murray’s chances with the Chiefs as he suffered a left knee injury early on in the preseason opener and didn’t play again until the final game. Then, in 2019, he suffered a leg injury during OTAs and was limited at the start of camp.
At the start of his college career, he missed the entire 2013 season due to injury and took a medical red-shirt.
Murray’s main adjustment has been going from a small school like Holy Cross to a more complicated NFL system. However, he didn’t appear to make many mental errors and saw both zone blocking and man blocking assignments with the Chiefs.
His best NFL position is probably center, although the experience at other positions could add to his value if he’s on the bubble in camp.
He was briefly a teammate of Jehu Chesson with the Chiefs in 2018. Both players were released in final cuts.
Murray, like Brad Lundblade, has a chance to prove he could be a low cost utility man for the Jets over the next few years. He’ll be a long-shot for a roster spot this year but could land on the practice squad again if he does well in preseason.
With the Chiefs, it sounded like he had done quite well and they seemed to like him so he might have stuck around for longer with them if not for his training camp injuries.
His preseason performances so far haven’t really lived up to his college film, which is impressive, albeit against low-level competition. However, he’s still young enough that he should have some unrealized potential that the Jets will hope to be able to tap into.