Murphy Could Provide Solid Returns

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With their talented triumvirate of Donald Driver, Javon Walker and Robert Ferguson returning to haul in touchdown passes from Brett Favre next season, the Green Bay Packers wouldn't seem to have a 'need' at wide receiver.

But need or not, nothing could change the fact that when the Packers came on the clock for their second second-round pick of the 2005 NFL Draft -- the 58th selection overall -- Texas A&M's Terrence Murphy was at the top of the draft board.

"It's pretty much the Ron Wolf philosophy in regard to we had him rated the top-rated player," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He has a lot of pluses going for him."

Murphy comes to the Packers after a senior season in which he made 56 receptions for 721 yards and three touchdowns. In Texas A&M history, only four players made more receptions in a single season, one of them being the Packers' own Ferguson, who had 58 catches in 2000.

But in addition to his receiving skills, Murphy brings talent as a kickoff returner. He averaged 16.6 yards per return last season, and both Sherman and GM Ted Thompson believe Murphy has the talent to return punts.

"He's a really good receiver," Thompson said. "But the fact that he is a return prospect is also very enticing."

Equally enticing is Murphy's upside at his primary position. A standout quarterback in his high school career at Chapel Hill in Tyler, Texas, Murphy is still picking up the nuances of the receiving game. Not that his unfamiliarity with the position kept him from becoming the eighth-leading receiver in Texas A&M history.

"I never played receiver until college," Murphy said. "I still have a lot to learn. I will keep working hard and if I keep getting reps, I will be one of the best."

That the Packers don't need Murphy to come in and be a primary target for Favre right away isn't a bad thing. Although their current receiving corps is one of the tops in the NFL, none of the players assumed a starting job right out of college.

Considering the learning curve for receivers at the NFL level, Murphy could end up being an investment in the future as much as he could potentially be a fix for the moment on special teams.

"It's a huge step, obviously," Sherman said. "Coming from college to the pros is a challenge (at receiver) because of the different things you see in the pros that you don't see in college."

Of course, for Murphy, change is nothing new.

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