When former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray met with the Chiefs before his pro day last month in Athens, Ga., he got the sense Kansas City might be his next home.
Murray — the Southeastern Conference’s career leader with 921 completions, 13,166 passing yards, 121 passing touchdowns and 13,562 total yards — felt a strong connection with Chiefs quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy and assistant director of college scouting Dom Green.
“It was a fabulous interview,” Murray said. “We were supposed to go in there and talk for about 45 minutes. It ended up being about an hour-and-45 to two-hour-long meeting of just watching film and talking, drawing up plays. I really got a great feeling from them after that meeting.”
Murray’s intuition also turned out to be spot-on when the Chiefs, who remain in talks with starting quarterback Alex Smith on an extension beyond the 2014 season, snagged Murray in the fifth round with the 163rd overall pick.
“Aaron was a phenomenal leader there at Georgia, been a four-year starter,” Green said. “He’s the type of guy that his teammates rally around and kind of gravitate towards, just an overall very competitive player.”
Now, he’s next in a long line of quarterbacks who have tried to snap a dubious streak.
No quarterback drafted by the Chiefs has won a game for the franchise since Todd Blackledge, who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft.
Murray also joins a crowded quarterback room that already includes Smith, former Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and former Tennessee standout Tyler Bray, whom the Chiefs signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2013 draft.
“Obviously, if they draft you, they want you to go in there and compete,” Murray said. “That’s my goal right now, to go in there and compete and work as hard as I can. We’ll see what happens from there.”
Murray’s college career ended prematurely when he suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 23 against Kentucky. He didn’t run or participate in other measurable workouts at Georgia’s pro day, but Green said “he looked good throwing the ball. I think he’s a guy that will be ready by camp for sure.”
Murray also declared himself healthy.
“I’m ready to go right now,” Murray said. “I’m fully doing everything when it comes to running, jumping, all my dropbacks, all my rollouts — right and left. There’s absolutely no restrictions right now. The doctors gave me the green light to go out there and do everything, so I’m excited to get out there and practice next week.”
The Chiefs drafted defensive players with their only two picks on the draft’s first two days but addressed the offense with all four picks Saturday.
First, the Chiefs added former Oregon speedster De’Anthony Thomas, who declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season, in the fourth round with the 124th overall pick.
“First and foremost, he’s just an explosive playmaker,” said Trey Koziol, the Chiefs’ West Coast area scout. “He’s got world-class speed, ran track on the Oregon track team up there, which is one of the better programs in the country.”
Koziol also praised Thomas’ versatility, especially his potential value returning kickoffs and punts and the ability to line up in the slot.
Thomas projects as the successor to — and perhaps an upgrade over — Dexter McCluster, who left for Tennessee in free agency after four seasons with the Chiefs.
“He certainly has the skill set to do it,” Koziol said. “It’s up to Coach. But when you’ve got a guy who has kind of a Swiss-Army-knife-type versatility, you can move him all over the place and just look for the best mismatch.”
Thomas, who missed four games last season because of an ankle injury, said he was never caught from behind in college and doesn’t expect to get tracked down in the NFL either.
“Not at all,” Thomas said. “Once I get out (of) the gates, I’m going to score that touchdown.”
Obviously, All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles remains the Chiefs’ workhorse in the backfield, but Thomas offers another weapon in a stable that includes Knile Davis, a third-round pick in 2013, and Cyrus Gray.
The Chiefs shored up their offensive line with both sixth-round picks, adding Tennessee right guard Zach Fulton (No. 193 overall) and offensive tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Quebec native who played collegiately at McGill University in Montreal.
Chiefs area scout Pat Sperduto called Fulton a “road grader” and lauded the athleticism of Duvernay-Tardif, a third-year medical student whom the Chiefs discovered at the East-West Shrine Game.
“Both of these guys, these are two nasty people,” Sperduto said. “It’s great, because they both understand the line. They step over the line, and they’re wild-horse riders. They step back over, and they’re shepherds. These are good guys, really good guys off the field, quality human beings. When they hit the field, you’re going to see some people mixing it up. These two will both do it.”
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