The hot quarterback prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft this week is Zach Mettenberger. He had his pro day on Wednesday and impressed scouts in attendance by throwing the ball well for the first time in public since ACL surgery.
It wasn't a perfect workout for Mettenberger, but more than anything he showed he was healthy. That's huge for the former Tigers star because he could see his name called in the second round of the draft, a stark rise compared to where he was in NFL circles a year ago.
Though he's not mentioned in the same vein, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray actually beat Metteneberger out for the starting job with the Bulldogs a few years ago and is also coming off the same injury during his senior year. His pro day will also offer an opportunity to show he's healthy and if that's the case, like Mettenberger, could wind up boosting his stock to the point where he's a second-round pick.
"I'm calling my shot like Babe Ruth," NFL Media analyst Charles Davis said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft". "After Aaron Murray's pro day next week, his name is going to blow up and we're going to be talking about him in the second round mix."
Murray is the SEC's record-holder for touchdown passes and holds a host of school passing records at Georgia. Coming off an ACL tear will give some teams pause, but he is mostly knocked by NFL scouts for his shorter-than-average height (6-foot-1) for a pro quarterback. If teams are willing to overlook that, he has a quick release and and has proven he can make good decisions against tough defenses in college. Still, he faces an uphill battle to be labeled as one of the better quarterbacks in the draft.
At this point in the pre-draft process, quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr have separated themselves from a number of others and are likely to go in the first round of the draft. Others are nipping at their heels as second day choices however, including Murray, Mettenberger, Jimmy Garoppolo and AJ McCarron.
"We have all those quarterbacks and (Murray) might be the best one out of them," Davis said. "In fact, I believe he is the best one out of him."
That's high praise, especially when you add in Tony Dungy's observation that Murray will be like Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson.
At least a dozen teams are reportedly interested in the Georgia signal-caller so if Davis and others are to be believed, Murray might just end up being a draft steal for one of them down the road.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.