ATHENS - This time last year, the Georgia football team was awash in prospects for the next NFL draft. This year is a much different story.
As it stands now, the passing combination of Aaron Murray and Arthur Lynch are Georgia's top two prospects. Both are seniors. Injuries and production have affected the other draft-eligible players, though there's still time for that to change.
Speaking on a conference call, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Murray, Georgia's fourth-year starting quarterback, projects right now as somewhere between the third-to-sixth round (a very wide range). Murray has improved his stock by coming back for his senior year, according to Kiper, who still believes Murray's height limits his draft ceiling.
"In terms of improving (his draft stock) he has because he's won some big games, and he's played well in some big games," Kiper said. "He doesn't have the elite physical ability. He's not 6-3, he doesn't have the great arm. But he is a good quarterback. And he's a heck of a quarterback at the collegiate level. Will he be a starting quarterback you can win with in the NFL? That's the debate."
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Kiper expects Murray to be in the mix for an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he could also improve his stock.
Lynch is due to return this week after missing one game with a rib injury. A preseason first-team all-SEC selection, Lynch enters the Auburn game with 15 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns.
"His numbers are good. I've seen him have a few drops here and there this year," Kiper said. "But certainly he'll be a guy who can figure maybe as the high as the fourth-round, fifth-round area."
The only other Georgia prospect that Kiper mentioned was inside linebacker Ramik Wilson, a junior. Wilson leads the SEC with 102 tackles, and also has two sacks. Wilson is in his first year starting, and may not even be the best inside linebacker on the team: Fellow junior Amarlo Herrera probably has that distinction.
But Kiper likes Wilson, even if it's more for the 2015 draft.
"I think he has a chance to be a real good player," Kiper said. "He is right now, and certainly moving forward to next year."