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Utah Utes football: Why tight end Jake Murphy is a mid-round NFL Draft steal

Great hands
Great hands
Steve Dykes

Former Utah Utes tight end Jake Murphy officially made his presence at the NFL Draft known on Thursday, April 16 when he and his team of agents released a highlight video that makes you want the NFL Draft to get here by tomorrow. Sadly for Utes fans who know what Murphy can do, that day will have to wait.

The video is grossly enthralling, a well produced piece that should have NFL teams salivating -- if they fall for stunning graphics and a solid script. Being that they’re NFL teams, however, they’ve probably seen it all before.

In the meantime most mock drafts have Murphy going in about the sixth round or later, so he probably needs all the publicity he can get. He broke his wrist in his highly anticipated junior year, scoring just five touchdowns on 417 yards.

If his production last year seemed a little low for a player with so much upside, it was. That said, there have been Hall of Fame tight ends who went undrafted and still got there on their own merit.

So it’s doubtful that a few doubts about some inabilities -- such as blocking and tackling -- will do much to dissuade NFL teams to consider taking a chance on him as the draft draws near. As the son of Hall of Fame baseball legend Dale Murphy, Jake has probably learned over the years to deal with criticism. So here are five reasons NFL teams should take a chance on him.

Great hands
Great hands Steve Dykes

Great hands

Murphy may have the best hands of any tight end in the draft, says Sports Illustrated, who ranks him ninth among all draft-eligible players at his position.

He is also far and away the best pass catcher of any tight end, they added.

Maturity
Maturity Steve Dykes

Maturity

At 24 years of age, Murphy is older than most draft-eligible players. But, when the shelf life of an NFL player is usually just five years -- if they’re lucky -- Murphy will be just fine handling the rigorous lifestyle.

Keep in mind that Dennis Pitta entered the NFL later as well -- and he’s still in the league, thriving to this day with the Baltimore Ravens.

Team player
Team player Steve Dykes

Team player

Murphy is beloved in the Utes locker room. His Twitter page is littered with tweets from former and current Utes -- including one from backup quarterback Adam Schulz who teases Murphy about a mullet he had.

Murphy won't have any problems going into NFL locker rooms and fitting in, and his Twitter page tells you everything you need to know about his easygoing personality.

Character
Character Steve Dykes

Character

Murphy is a returned missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) and was a team leader for the Utes last season.

Though much was expected of him in 2013 -- including being on the John Mackey Award watch list as the nation’s best tight end -- his season didn’t go as anticipated.

That said, he didn’t make excuses about having a rough campaign.

Genetics
Genetics William Mancebo

Genetics

It cannot be understated that his dad is the great Dale Murphy. If you’re an NFL general manager, that fact alone should count for something because Murphy has had to work hard for what he got.

If you think it’s hard to make it as an athlete, try coming to any pro team as the son of a famous athlete. The expectations are almost unrealistic.