Heading into Day Three of the NFL draft, things were looking up for Jake Murphy.
Seven tight ends had been taken in the first three rounds — and one of those, Cal’s Richard Rodgers, had received reviews similar to Murphy’s.
Day Three was brutal.
Only three tight ends were chosen Saturday, and Murphy wasn’t one of them. That meant Utah’s sure-handed junior, who at 24 decided to declare with a year of eligibility remaining, would have to make his way via undrafted free agency.
"Basically it’s like college recruiting all over again, except more sped up," said Murphy, who estimates he fielded rapid-fire calls from between 10 and 15 teams. "Every coach is calling you trying to sell you on why you should come there as an undrafted free agent ... telling you about who they have on the roster and the offense that they run."
In the vein of college recruiting, Murphy quipped that he made a "soft verbal" to Jacksonville, but he came to feel that Oakland was a better opportunity to make the roster.
He now heads to Oakland with two teammates: fourth-round pick Keith McGill and fellow free agent Karl Williams. Murphy and Williams both train with another former Raider with Utah ties, John Madsen.
The Alpine native and American Fork High star obviously would have preferred to be drafted. Still, he said, it’s a huge relief to put the lengthy draft process in his rear-view.
"The best feeling now is just kind of knowing what the outcome is," he said. "The worst part is just the anticipation and feeling anxious and not knowing."
— Matthew Piper
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