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D. Orlando Ledbetter

NFL combine: Murray projected as mid-round pick by Kiper

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Former SEC quarterbacks Aaron Murray (Georgia), Zach Mettenberger (LSU) and Connor Shaw (South Carolina) head up a list of 24 players with Georgia ties invited to the NFL scouting combine, which will run Feb. 19 through 25 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Last season, there were 29 players with Georgia ties invited.

In 2012, there were 26 players invited.

In 2011, a total of 31 players, including No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, were invited.

Murray, Mettenberger and Shaw are all considered backup NFL quarterback prospects by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. Murray and Mettenberger are projected to be selected in the middle rounds of the NFL draft, which is slated for May 8-10, and Shaw in the seventh-round or signed as a priority free agent.

They will have a chance to improve their draft status at the combine and in their Pro Day and individual team workouts before the draft.

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is recovering from knee surgery and will take part in the off-the-field portions of the2014   NFL Scouting Combine.  (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is recovering from knee surgery and will take part in the off-the-field portions of the2014 NFL Scouting Combine. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A team like the New York Jets may be interested in Murray, who’s coming back from a knee injury. Kiper was asked about the New York Jets and quarterback Geno Smith. He thought it would be prudent for the Jets to draft more help for Smith and then take a quarterback prospect as insurance.

“I would take a quarterback in the third or fourth round, whether if you are looking at Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois, or … Zach Mettenberger from LSU, who’s coming off the injury or… Aaron Murray, who’s also coming off an injury with Georgia or David Fales from San Jose State.

“I would look at a quarterback in the third, fourth or fifth rounds just as insurance. I would use the early rounds to help out Geno Smith and let him have some weapons around him, which would assist in his development.”

The top quarterbacks in the draft are Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.

“When you talk to people in the league, (Manziel’s) kind of the consensus No. 1 quarterback,” Kiper said. “Bortles and Bridgewater, there is a mixed opinion on them.”

Here are the players with locals ties on the official list of invitees to the 2014 NFL scouting combine.

Jerry Attaochu (OLB), Georgia Tech: NFLDraftScout.com rates Attaochu as the eighth best outside linebacker and projects that he’ll be drafted in the second or third round.

Chris Boyd (WR), Vanderbilt (Roswell): NFLDraftScout.com has Boyd rated as the 56th best wide receiver in the draft and projects that he’ll go undrafted.

J.C. Copeland (FB), LSU, LaGrange (Troup County): NFLDraftScout.com has Copeland rated as the second best fullback and projects that he’ll be selected in the sixth round.

Isaiah Crowell (RB), AlabamaState (UGA, Columbus Carver High): NFLDraftScout.com has Crowell rated as the 26th best running back in the draft and projects that he’ll go undrafted.

Darqueze Dennard (CB), Michigan State, (Twiggs County High): ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects in his latest Mock draft that Dennard will go 24th in the first round to the Cincinnati Bengals. NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang has Dennard rated as the 11th best player in the draft.

Adrian Hubbard (LB), Alabama (Norcross): NFLDraftScout.com has Hubbard rated as the 12th best outside linebacker and projects that he’ll be drafted in the fourth round.

Ja’wuan James (OT), Tennessee (North Gwinnett High): NFLDraftScout.com has James rated as the 11th best tackle in the draft and projects that he’ll go in the third or fourth round.

Storm Johnson (RB), Central Florida, (Loganville High): NFLDraftScout.com has Johnson rated as the 19th best running back in the draft and projects that he’ll be drafted in the sixth or seventh round.

T.J. Jones (WR), Notre Dame, (Gainesville): NFLDraftScout.com has Jones rated as the 20the best wide receiver in the draft and projects that he’ll be selected in the fourth or fifth round.

Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt, (Stephenson High): NFLDraftScout.com has Ladler rated as the sixth best free safety and projects that he’ll be drafted in the fourth or fifth round.

Richie Leone (P), Houston (Roswell High): NFLDraftScout.com rates Leone as the fifth best punter in the draft and projects that he’ll be drafted in the seventh round or be signed as a free agent.

Arthur Lynch (TE), Georgia: NFLDraftScout.com has Lynch rated as the sixth best tight end and projects that he’ll be drafted in the fourth round.

Jerick McKinnon (RB), Georgia Southern, (Sprayberry High): NFLDraftScout.com has McKinnon rated as the 17th best running back and projects that he’ll be selected in the sixth or seventh round.

Zach Mettenberger (QB), LSU (Oconee County High): NFLDraftScout.com has Mettenberger rated as the seventh best quarterback in the draft and projects that he’ll be selected in the third or fourth round of the draft.

Aaron Murray (QB), Georgia: NFLDraftScout.com has Murray rated as the eighth best quarterback in the draft and projects that he’ll be selected in the fourth round of the draft.

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Suwanee, Ga., native tied for the Buckeyes' team lead with three interceptions. Roby (1) also blocked a pair of kicks. He paced the defensive backs with 13 pass break-ups this season. (By Gregory Shamus.)

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Suwanee, Ga., native tied for the Buckeyes’ team lead with three interceptions. Roby (1) also blocked a pair of kicks. He paced the defensive backs with 13 pass break-ups this season. (By Gregory Shamus.)

Bradley Roby (CB), Ohio State (Peachtree Ridge): Kiper projects that Roby will go 31st in the first round to the Denver Broncos. NFLDraftScout.com rates Roby as the fifth best cornerback in the draft and projects that he’ll go in the second round.

Connor Shaw QB, South Carolina (Flowery Branch High): NFLDraftScout.com has Shaw rated as the 11th best quarterback in the draft and projects that he will be drafted in the sixth round. Kiper projected the seventh round or priorty free agent.

Marcus Smith (DE), Louisville, (Columbus Hardaway): NFLDraftScout.com has Smith rated as the seventh best defensive end and projects that he’ll go in the second or third round of the draft.

Telvin Smith, (LB), Florida State (Lowndes): NFLDraftdScout.Com has Smith rated as the sixth best outside linebacker and projects that he will get drafted in the second round.

Jamea Thomas, CB, Georgia Tech: NFLDraftScout.com has Thomas rated as the eighth best free safety and projects that he’ll be selected in the sixth round.

Stephon Tuitt (DE), Notre Dame, (Monroe): ESPN draft Analyst Todd Mcshay has Tuitt being selected 31st in the first round by the New England Patriots. Rang has Tuitt rated as the 14th best player in the draft.

Lavelle Westbrooks (CB), Georgia Southern (Riverdale): NFLDraftScout.com has Westbrooks rated as the 29th best cornerback in the draft and projects that he’ll get selected in the sixth or seventh round.

Albert Wilson (WR), Georgia State: NFLDraftScout.com has Wilson rated as the 45th best wide receiver in the draft and projects that he’ll go undrafted.

David Yankey (G), Stanford, (Centennial High): NFLDraftscout.com has Yankey ranked as the top guard in the draft and projects that he’ll go in the first or second round.

(Feel free to drop us a note if we’ve missed any Georgia players. We will monitor the additions to the original invite list, too.)

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