Loyola football fans have reason to pay close attention to this year’s NFL Draft, which begins Thursday and concludes Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Both Jimmy Murray and Peter Pujals — members of the Class of 2013 — are considered professional prospects after completing standout careers at Holy Cross. Each is expected to be selected in either the late rounds or sign as undrafted free agents, according to people who cover the NFL.

Murray is a 6-foot-5, 304-pound offensive lineman who can play center, guard and tackle. Pujals (pictured above) is a 6-1, 213-pound quarterback. They served as Holy Cross co-captains as seniors.

Loyola head coach Holecek described Pujals as “mobile and fast with a cannon for an arm.” A starter since his freshman year, he completed 55.3 percent of his passes for 2,776 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.

For his career, Pujals ranks first in games (48) and starts (46). He’s second in total offense (13,451), passing yards (11,695), touchdown passes (84) and completions (1,071). He was the first four-time captain in Holy Cross history, which started playing football in 1891.

“He can go somewhere with two established quarterbacks and be the inexpensive third guy who can learn,” Holecek said. “What makes him special is that he’s super competitive. He has the desire.”

Murray started on the line the last three seasons. As a senior, he helped the Crusaders average 397.5 yards per game and 5.3 yards per play. In an interview with thegridironcrew.com, Murray said he has more prove as a football player.

“I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder and will continue to do so, especially at the next level,” he told the website. “Any NFL team that gives me a chance will not regret it.”

Given the vagaries of the process, Murray said he’s keeping an open mind to how his pro future unfolds.

“There are so many moving parts to the draft that it’s hard to predict,” he said. “I can’t wait to take advantage of any opportunity.

“I’m beyond excited for this Thursday and the coming weekend. This is what you dream of as a kid growing up playing football at Faith, Hope and Charity and at Loyola. It’s surreal that’s finally happening.”

Photo credit: Mark Seliger/Holy Cross