Kyler Murray is one of a kind. And that’s going to cause NFL scouts a lot of trouble over the next few months.
Listed generously at 5-foot-10 on Oklahoma’s roster, Murray is the kind of prospect that will have NFL scouts disagreeing about risk and upside, largely because he’s a small man who has put up huge numbers.
With Murray announcing he’ll begin the NFL draft process on Monday, he’ll open himself to further evaluation from scouts. Murray will explore the NFL as a possibility, but won’t rule out the possibility of playing baseball for the Oakland A’s. While Murray tests the NFL’s waters, the mudslinging will begin, with teams throwing up smokescreens and (shockingly) speaking honestly about Murray’s prospects.
It has already begun — here’s what NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported about Murray’s decision to declare for the draft.
“Based on the scouts that I talked to, they project a second or third rounder. Complicating things is his height. He is very short — 5-foot-9 probably. Athletically he’s unbelievable. Everyone saw the job he did in helping him win the Heisman this year. It’s difficult for guys to evaluate him, because there’s just not a lot of examples in history of a 5-foot-9 quarterback doing what he does.”
If Baker Mayfield can be the No. 1 overall pick, Kyler Murray can absolutely be a first-round pick. Perhaps Murray’s talents are so unique that projecting him borders on futile. But teams are desperate for quarterbacks, and at least one quarterback-needy team will like him enough to see if they can accommodate his height.
Think about it this way — Josh Allen completed 56.2 percent of his passes in college. He may be above average for every physical measurement of a quarterback, but in the NFL he completed 52.8 percent of his passes. Murray, meanwhile, may be underwhelming in stature, but statistically, he finished with a 69 completion percentage. If you draft for size, you may only get size. If you draft a capable quarterback, that’s what you’ll get, regardless of height.
This isn’t to say that Murray is worth a first-round pick or will be successful in the pros. But it’s the line of thinking that will prevail among a few NFL teams. Just one of them has to be convinced they can get the most out of Murray. So while the scouts are tepid now, they’ll warm up to Murray, and he’ll creep into the top 32 picks of the 2019 NFL Draft, if he chooses to try football over baseball.