Last weekend, Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy. It’s the latest highlight of an incredible season by the first-round pick of the Oakland A’s and former Aggie. Few, if any, people expected Murray to take over so seamlessly from the the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.
Of course, his success doesn’t matter in NFL circles, right? Having inked a deal with a $4.66 million signing bonus shortly after the MLB Draft this summer, he’s signed, sealed and delivered to play on the diamond, not the gridiron — at least until recently. This week, his baseball agent, Scott Boras, has softened his tone. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be drafted this spring.
Then again, we’re talking about a one-year wonder who, at 5-9, is 2-3 inches shorter than the “short” quarterbacks who are having success in the NFL these days. He also comes from a college-style spread without a lot of the intricacies of the pro game, behind a superhuman offensive line, and he plays in a conference that’s famed for its lack of defense.
Still — he’s exciting, he’s incredibly athletic, and he’s been wildly productive. So let’s presume baseball was off the table, however that might occur, and he was part of this spring’s draft. Where does he get drafted? We asked several NFL scouts, and the answers surprised us. Here’s a sampling.
- “He’s an exceptional talent. I normally would never vouch for a 5’9 QB, but he’s possibly the best athlete I saw all fall, and he’s extremely accurate as a thrower. Despite his size, I didn’t see any tips at the LOS, and he can change arm angles. I have no reservations about his arm. I don’t think the risk is his size. It may be his durability; he hasn’t been hurt, but he’s playing behind probably the best OL in college football against a bad conference of defenses, so I just worry about him taking hits from NFL players on a more regular basis. Also, he has only one real year of production. I think if he comes out, he goes in the last half of the first round. He’s that talented. And I know you said he isn’t gonna be in the NFL Draft, don’t be so sure. I know he has the deal with the A’s, but football is his first love and I’d be shocked personally if he at least doesn’t give it a try. His passion is to be an NFL QB.”
- “(He’s) really 5090. That’s short short. No way you can take him high. Flutie last 5090 QB? Just guessing. Remember a short Georgia Tech a decade or so ago. Joe Hamilton. Worst thing they could allow is for him to get measured. Wonder if any MLB scouts have his height?
- “He’s gonna hold all the cards. He can wait. Not sure what the baseball rules are. If I were him, I’d go to the combine and get a better sense of where (I’m) gonna go before I decided. But he’s fast, he’s exciting and he can throw on the run.”
We got nine more responses from our friends in the business, and it’s pretty fascinating stuff. For the most part, we’re seeing a change in how scouts see the game, in my opinion. I think it’s fair to say that the rigid constraints of the QB prototype are changing, if not breaking down altogether.
You can read everything scouts told us about Murray’s chances in the draft, and where they think he would/will go, in today’s Friday Wrap (here’s last week’s edition). If you’ve always thought about registering, but never did, now’s the time. We promise. Today’s edition will have plenty of scouting scoop about Murray, but also the usual rundown of what happened in football biz last week from an insider’s perspective. Register here.