So, Kyler Murray has decided to declare for the NFL draft. What does this mean? Well for the time being, not a lot. The deadline for declaring for the draft was the 14th January and whilst he met that deadline, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be playing in the NFL.
Murray signed a contract with the MLB’s Oakland As last year and took close to $5m as a signing bonus with the agreement that he could play a season of football with Oklaholma. That season has passed, and it was a good one, culminating in Murray winning the Heisman trophy along the way. The general thinking of the media and various pundits though was that he would still go to the MLB. Well under the six foot mark in height marked him as too short to be an elite NFL quarterback (when have we heard that before!).
Murray’s talent is undoubtedly though (see below) and he’s showed that not only as a running quarterback but also as a passer. Reports surfaced last week that newly minted Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury was a big fan – a storyline which then had conspiracy theorists suggesting that the Cardinals would trade current quarterback Josh Rosen so that they could pick Murray with the No.1 pick in the draft later this year. That would be a long shot.
As I said, the ‘too short to be an elite quarterback’ is a line we’ve all heard before – last year it was the label that was plastered on Baker Mayfield, and he seems to have done alright. However, Murray isn’t just under six foot. Some have labelled him as 5’8”, a mark that will have most scouts wincing with doubt. If Murray does enter the combine there will be a lot of eyes on him when he goes on to the stage for his measurements.
Will he go in the first round? If he’s serious about being committed to football then he likely will. To demonstrate that I think he has to forego MLB spring training and throw himself into training for the combine, and then put on a display at the combine. It’s not the numbers so much that are important – it’s demonstrating that he’s committed to football. I don’t think any NFL team will want their quarterback distracted by another sport. In today’s sporting world, I don’t think it’s possible for athletes to play two sports to the highest level. You might get away with it in certain positions (running back, maybe) but certainly not at the quarterback where so much time is spent in the film room.
What do I think will happen? If he gets into the first round he’ll give football a go. If he doesn’t and it looks like he’ll be a backup QB somewhere, he’ll go back to the MLB. Either way, this is a storyline that’s going to run and run all through the offseason.