LIONS INSIDER

Detroit Lions host RB Latavius Murray and S Jonathan Meeks for pre-draft visits

Posted Apr 16, 2013

At 6-3, 223 pounds, Latavius Murray wanted to prove that he could run, and he didn't disappoint with a time in the 4.45 range at his Pro Day

Latavius MurrayRB Latavius Murray
Latavius Murray knew that his 40-yard dash time at his Central Florida Pro Day was going to make or break how he was viewed at the next level by some coaches and scouts.

Murray led Conference USA with 1,106 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns last year, but for a big back at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds, the NFL wanted to know if he could also run.

He didn’t disappoint with a time in the 4.45 range and has now put himself into the conversation in the middle-to-late rounds of next week’s draft.

“I knew that when I was feeling good I would run well,” said Murray, who’s meeting with a total of five teams, including the Lions, in the pre-draft process.

“At the end of the day, I’m just trying to pitch to them that I’m a football player. I can catch out of the backfield and you can put me on any position on the field on offense and I’ll catch well, block well and run well. I’m trying to sell that.”

He finished his career second in UCF history in overall touchdowns (44), eighth in attempts (453), sixth in yards (2,424) and third in rushing touchdowns (37).

He also hauled in 27 receptions for 231 yards and four touchdowns last year.

But maybe more amazing than the rushing yards and the touchdowns, Murray went 407 carries at Central Florida without losing a fumble, including this past season. His last lost fumble came in 2008, against Memphis.

“I was talking to my agent before I came out here (to Detroit) and you look at the teams you go visit to see how you might fit into their system,” Murray said. “When you get a team like this, with guys out there that are explosive athletes, it’s somewhere where I feel they’ll have an idea of how they can get me out there with an ability to make plays.”

The Lions still have a need for a running back with speed and who catch the ball out of the backfield to compliment Reggie Bush, Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell.

MEEKS HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE

Jonathan MeeksS Jonathan Meeks

Jonathan Meeks started 23 games at safety for Clemson over the last two years and amassed 123 tackles, five interceptions and 13 pass breakups over that span. Yet, Meeks is ranked the 33rd best safety available in next week’s draft, according to nfldraftscout.com.

“I definitely feel disrespected and that’s going to show when I get somewhere,” Meeks told Detroitlions.com. “Wherever I end up, they’re going to get as steal, whoever gets me."

Meeks, who was not invited to the combine, measured 6-foot and 215 pounds at his Pro Day and ran the 40 in 4.5.

He’s considered a raw strong safety prospect, who’ll need some time to develop with the right scheme, but he’s certainly motivated to prove the draft analysts wrong.

“I just want the opportunity,” he said. “I want to get drafted just like the next man, but I know I’m excited to get out here and show what I can do at the NFL level and I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people.”