Thoughts as Kyler Murray commits to football

February 11th, 2019 | Written by Rob Staton

Kyler Murray deserves to be praised.

You might think that, at the age of 21, he should’ve known exactly what he wanted to do with his life at the exact time the NFL dictates (in this case, January 14th — the deadline to declare for the draft).

Clearly Murray wasn’t ready. And who could blame him?

How many people face the decision he had to make? He was a unique case having to handle a crazy dilemma.

Let’s just remember what he had to consider:

1. His football career in college included a short spell at Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma, where he would play for one year. He wasn’t a three-year starter. He’s also not close to a prototype for the NFL. Presumably a pro-football career wasn’t a strong consideration — at least as a top draft pick.

2. The Oakland Athletics used the #9 pick on him in the MLB draft and paid him a $4.66m signing bonus. At this point he’s probably certain he’ll be a baseball pro. Everything points in that direction.

3. He has a sensational season at Oklahoma, wins the Heisman Trophy as the best player in college football and shows off a skill-set that is extremely similar to Patrick Mahomes (the reigning NFL MVP).

4. People begin to talk about him positively as a NFL prospect. Some discuss the possibility of him being a top-10 pick.

5. Murray is left to make a decision. Give back millions of dollars to the A’s, complete a U-turn on his baseball ambitions, hope that NFL teams are willing to invest in him as a 5-9 franchise quarterback and then prepare his mindset to play pro-football.

Anyone would find this a difficult challenge. This isn’t like Russell Wilson — the fifth pick of the 41st round in the 2007 MLB draft with years of starting experience in college football and the time to make a call without a draft deadline approaching or any serious financial ramifications.

Murray was a top-10 pick in baseball. He was guaranteed millions. To go with football he’d be gambling those millions.

He likely declared for the NFL draft in part to buy himself more thinking time. It’s not his fault he hadn’t made a choice by that point.

And then he appeared on the Dan Patrick show. It didn’t go well. He didn’t know how to answer questions about his future. He clearly hadn’t been well advised on how to dodge the questions — or at least present a way to answer the questions without appearing indecisive and secretive.

It wasn’t a good look. He got hammered — in the media, on social media, in forums.

Yet the reaction was so utterly lacking in any kind of sympathy for his dilemma. Instead of mindfulness for this titanic call he had to make, people simply questioned (in a highly aggressive way) his inability to make a life-defining call in a short window of time.

Now he’s made the call. He’s picked football.

All those who criticised Murray can sleep easily, knowing that they can complete their mock drafts without question marks and that any future appearances on the Dan Patrick show will likely be less awkward. Phew. What a relief.

The rest of us can simply be satisfied that Murray has given himself time to make a huge call. Now that he’s picked football, we can look forward to seeing him in the NFL. Because I’m convinced he’s the most talented player in the 2019 draft.

At the turn of the year I wrote the Cardinals should draft him with the #1 pick (I still believe they should). I’ve argued the Seahawks should run to the podium if he was available when they decide to make a pick. It’s strange that so soon after Mahomes entered the league, here’s another player with the same ability to make the improbable possible.

He’s accurate to every level of the field. He can throw downfield with velocity. He can throw with touch. He had the pass of the year against Alabama — throwing a perfect dart from the half-way line to a wide receiver in the end zone, hitting him right in-stride with two defenders in close proximity. And he did it all while on the move to avoid pressure — stepping up into the pocket with almost no back-lift.

Kyler Murray is a truly incredible prospect.

Don’t take my word for it though. Here are Bob McGinn’s sources from within the league:

“I don’t know what you do with a guy that’s 5-9 but he is something special,” said one scout. “He would be a shorter version of Patrick Mahomes (6-2, 225, 4.81). He can be that special. He’d probably run like a 4.4 something. He’s a better football player than Baker Mayfield because he runs so well.

“He can be going full speed left or right and throw the ball the length of the field. I haven’t really broken him down yet because I figure he’s going to play baseball. But you go ‘wow, wow, wow!’ when you watch him. I wouldn’t want to defend him.

“The amazing thing is his arm strength. He’s accurate, too. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Mahomes.”

Operating in the same system under coach Lincoln Riley, Murray posted an outrageous NFL passer rating of 141.5 while rushing for 892 yards (7.3) and 11 touchdowns in 2018 whereas Mayfield compiled a 137.9 rating while rushing for 311 (3.2) and five TDs in 2017.

“He’s a better player than Mayfield,” another scout said. “Is he a better pro prospect? Mayfield (6-0 ½, 215, 4.84) was taller. I think Murray has a stronger arm. He’s Doug Flutie with all the better skills.

“Murray reminds me of Michael Vick. Not that tall. This kid is as explosive or more explosive. He’s got more accuracy and more ability to run a pro team than Vick did early.”

I think he’s a top-10 lock. The decision today to clarify his career intentions should secure that. He could even be the #1 pick — whether that’s to Arizona or another team moving into the top spot.

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41 Responses to “Thoughts as Kyler Murray commits to football”

  1. EP says:

    From an excitement point of view I’d love him to go to the Giants. Barkley, Beckam, Murray. Electric

  2. clbradley17 says:

    Here’s the combine schedule according to NFL.com:

    Tentative Combine workout schedule:
    » Friday, Mar 1: PK, ST, OL, RB
    » Saturday, Mar 2: QB, WO, TE
    » Sunday, Mar 3: DL, LB
    » Monday, Mar 4: DB

  3. Kenny Sloth says:

    “Kyler Murray is like Michael Vick”

    😒

    Is that an employee of an NFL team saying that?? Christ……. Makes me wanna call the NFL the ‘R’ word but wouldn’t want to trigger anyone.

    “Collin Kaepernick, Pat Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton got a ton of Mike Vick in them too”

    • Rob Staton says:

      Not sure this is fair Kenny. Murray isn’t identical to Vick but he’s a similar threat as a runner.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Im quite sure the comparison is absolutely unfair..

        Vick threw like 20 total touchdowns in college Rob.

        He did have a cannon of an arm and it was a very different cfb landscape back then but I’m slow to applaud such lazy comps and quick to question the ethical standing of an old boys’ club that seems to only get more insular and retreating from an evolving social climate.

        The more I think on it the more the comparison is actually relevant to me when considering the two playmakers creative decision making.

        But if a video of Kyler Murray being body slammed by the police was available (like there is of Baker Mayfield) I think his stock would fall in a way that Bakers never did. I feel it would become a very pivotal talking point suddenly.

        And a total change of subject, but did Mahomes ever display his true level of creative playmaking in cfb? I seem to remember him playing within the scheme a lot and knocking him for it.

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think you’re reading way too much into it Kenny.

          The guy who made the comparison to Vick even says, directly, “He’s got more accuracy and more ability to run a pro team than Vick did early.” He’s saying he’s a better passer than Vick. Not unfairly, he’s also noting that Murray is going to run in the 4.3’s or 4.4’s and is an incredible weapon as a runner. Like Vick.

          I don’t have any problem at all with the comparison to Mahomes or Vick. Both are legit.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            I have a bad tendency to do just that Rob

            Like you say and I tried to concede before that the comparison is more relevant than I first reacted. The footspeed acceleration and ball velocity is quite reminiscent. I do get tired of the comparison to Vick but perhaps that has more to do with his role in evolving the position with an athleticism that is rarely exhibited by white players at the position than simply chalking it up to anything systemic or jumping to such conclusions.

            Maybe comparing the Ohio State guy to Vick would be a substantially more outrageous comparison.

            And sorry for using ur forum as a platform to soapbox or possibly incite tension based on my own bias’.

            My point about Baker’s run-in with the law, I think, may be an actually relevant one about the optics around individuals of different backgrounds. However hypothetical the premise had been.

            I think my initial indignation stemmed from Murray being a rather rare case of highly talented arm on a highly talented athlete coveted by multiple sports. Hard for me to accept many comparisons and easy to poke holes in each.

            Hard to argue that anybody very much like Murray has been in the draft in a long time.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            And after rereading again the quote is actually a really good blurb about the player

        • Duceyq says:

          Mahomes freelanced quite a bit. He was compared to Favre a lot…another QB who didn’t stay on schedule…regarding the comparison to Vick, I think the comparison is about explosion and shear playmaking ability. He’s equally dangerous throwing it 80 yards as he is running it for 80 yards any given play. I don’t see why you’re so taken back by the comps. I think they were all fair comparisons.

    • Jeff M. says:

      I know Rob’s already replied but I just want to point out that comparing a short/fast/big-armed QB to one of the 3 or so most successful sub-6ft passers in semi-recent history and the career rushing leader isn’t that surprising. I think RW is a more obvious comparison for Murray than Vick (since he had similar throwing success in college), but those are the guys that are going to come up.

      A writer isn’t going to communicate much to their audience by labeling Murray a Tobin Rote type… I like the Frank Tarkenton comparisons that Wilson sometimes gets but even that is stretching memories quite a bit. Maybe we should see more comparisons to Steve Young or to Aaron Rodgers (and Murray is more like those guys as a thrower than he is like Vick) but KM really is on another level compared to those guys athletically and as a runner. And he’s 5 inches shorter than they are.

      So he’s…”Vick but good at passing/decision-making”…”short Mahomes”…”fast Brees”…”Johnny Manziel if he were good at football”??? I’d just call him the next RW in terms of the best possible comparison for his whole skillset.

  4. Josh says:

    Murray doesn’t get pass Oakland/lasVegas at #4 imo. This will push the defensive linemen later. Could the hawks pass on Polite, Sweat, or one of the Clemson boys if they fall to 21 and still trade down? Who would it take to be there to pick at 21 to take the pick? Simmons? Sweat?

    • Rob4Q says:

      I’m starting to come around to the idea that someone will drop and fall right the ‘Hawks lap at 21…and they’ll have to think really hard about the choice to make. If there isn’t a great offer to trade back, do they stay at 21 and pick a player like Polite or Simmons or Lawrence? We keep saying we know they’ll trade back, but what if it’s not at 21 that they trade back? What if they wait until the 3rd round and then make a few trades to move back? Say they can end up with 7-8 picks total with a few moves back. Obviously most of those picks would be 5th round or later, but this might be the draft to find a few gems later…

  5. Sean-O says:

    Congrats to the kid for following his heart. He’s clearly more passionate about football & today that’s official.

    The combine will be fascinating to watch. Clearly he’s mega talented & has proved in on the field but this is still a league that really puts a lot of stock into how fast a QB can run in spandex, his hand size, wonderlic tests, the fact he came from a spread offense, etc…

  6. Uncle Bob says:

    I hope some folks get your point(s) Rob……….it’s amazing how as a society we’ve come to forget how young 20-1 years is. Men twice his age are befuddled by decisions to risk far, far less and choose to stand pat. That’s normal, but somehow young, talented, under the microscope athletes, or entertainers of other stripes, are held to a super human standard.

    All that said, one thing I haven’t heard/read/been aware of is what is his will to win/achieve? Since the natural comparison is Mayfield, let’s use him. For all that he didn’t fit the ideal physical profile, and didn’t have the anointed College trajectory, and seemed to have what was labeled an attitude problem of sorts, he possessed what I consider a most valuable characteristic……………..he had a winner’s mindset. To emphasize, I’m not talking about a winning record, that’s something different, but rather when the chips are down, the line of doubters deep, what does the, quarterback in this discussion, do to effectively say…………………………”go ahead, doubt me, I’ll show you. You take me and I won’t disappoint.” Our guy Russ has/had it, “why not me/us?” Mayfield has it. Brady has it. Does Murray? I don’t recall hearing that yet.

  7. drewdawg11 says:

    Now I’m absolutely worried that he lands in our division. That wouldn’t be great for us. The cardinals with Rosen are a non-threat for the next few seasons. With Murray? Eeeeeeeek. He’s a stud. If anything, he’s a headache for whom to prepare.

  8. Trevor says:

    I was a huge Deshawn Watson fan coming out because of not only his skill set but the intangibles. But Murray is the most exciting QB prospect I have seen coming out since I started following the draft. Andrew Luck was the prototype and Mahomes had sick arm talent but Murray is a freak athlete combined with an accurate and rocket arm. He is going to be the ulitimate weapon in today’s NFL IMO.

    I would do backflips if the Hawks could somehow get him.

  9. WALL UP says:

    Cleveland is another team that believes in giving 2nd chances.

    “I think we’re all appalled by it. It is an egregious act,” Dorsey said. “We all understand that. But after doing more research — extensive research — and analyzing the situation, we came to the conclusion that, I’m willing to help a man on a second chance moving forward to be a better person. And that’s all you can ask for in society and that’s all I’m trying to do.”

    Hopefully, others can become vehicles for change when dealing with such acts.

    • Coleslaw says:

      Cleveland should sign Antonio Brown and draft Hollywood Brown. Their offense would be insane. They could still add pass rush, they would win their division IMO. Call me crazy but I want to see the Browns in the playoffs so bad.

    • SamL says:

      I believe in second chances, but there has to be consequences for such terrible acts. I’m not sure he should play in the NFL anymore. A second chance is not letting him play again, a second chance is giving him a chance to prove that he’s not that kind of person.

      • Wall Up says:

        Sometimes the best advocates against something, is the one whom has committed such an act himself. What better voice for change could there be? But, will he become an advocate, is the question? Cleveland presents him a platform to do so.

        It also can be monetarily, by donating a percentage of his earnings to Stop Violence Against Women. There are various options to effect change. The legal system is set up to exact punishment. The NFL also has their mechanism for effecting change through suspensions.

        But, in reality, the thing that can change a person, is the person himself. Mr. Hunt, now has that opportunity. Let’s see what he does with it.

  10. RWIII says:

    Michael Vick was the overall number pick. Yet I would take Kyle Murray over Michael Vick.

    Take a look at Vick’s stats his final college year. 8 td passes. 6 ints. 54% completion percentage.
    Kyle Murray stats his final season at Oklahoma. 42 td passes. 7 ints. 69% completion percentage.

    Which QB would you rather have? Yet Vick went number one overall.

    • Gohawks5151 says:

      Apples to oranges. Vick played in a pro style offense. His stats were better the year before he came out and he took his team to the championship where he, the best player, lost to a better team. He was a revelutionary as a talent, even over 30 when he was in Philly. High schools now are running a more sophisticated passing game than he ever played in besides Philly. Murray is a great talent in a complimentary system. He never hit his peak partially due to scheme and it will happen to Murray too if he goes to a team with poor structure.

  11. Eli says:

    Found on reddit, 3 hour video of Kyler Murray’s entire 2018 season:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9uSG2ahvzM&feature=youtu.be

  12. jb9 says:

    I was talking to a classmate about the Murray/Mahomes comparisons and he laughed at the idea. I don’t know enough about QB’s but he says Murray is literally nothing like Mahomes. Murray runs to run, Mahomes runs to throw. Mahomes has the stature to survey the field in a way Murray can only dream and the accuracy + arm to put the ball anywhere.

    Says Murray struggled with some pretty vanilla looks Bama gave him in the early goin and his speed accounts for little because he isn’t fast enough to outrun most defenses and when he doesn’t he takes some considerable punishment.

    I also came across a comment on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMtQ-BU1lDU

    “On play #2 and many plays after, Murray took a straight drop with no action and failed to see what’s in front of him and simply failed finding his outlet receiver.

    Questions about his height lead into things like vision, then you talk about pocket movement, which Murray isn’t great at without dropping his eyes. Then that rolls into a talk of missing windows because being 5’8 doesnt help – therefore the timing and anticipation of throws vs certain coverages comes into play.

    Evidence shows that Murray will be a long line of “exciting” Running QB’s (plus Heisman winners) who might make a wow play here or there, but the consistency, accuracy and ruthless efficiency that makes a good to great NFL QB really isn’t there.”

    Are these legitimate talking points?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I disagree strongly with your friend

    • H says:

      I think the comparison to Mahomes is based off the ability to make the impossible throws in the impossible moments. Obviously he’s shorter which makes it harder for him but he’s also faster, much faster, certainly fast enough to get away from NFL defences. And fwiw I don’t think he “runs to run” he takes off if he doesn’t see anything but the pass is option 1, that throw against ‘Bama is case and point.

      A final thing to note is that Mahomes was also incredibly raw coming out, ridiculously so. So much so that he fell out of the top 10 despite his obvious natural gifts. So picking apart flaws in Murray’s college tape and saying he’ll never be on the same standard as Pat today isnt really fair.

  13. millhouse-serbia says:

    Kyler Murray has reportedly hired Erik Burkhardt as his agent.

    Erik also represents Kliff Kingsbury.

    @JosinaAnderson
    So….now the first question mark in the NFL Draft starts at #2.

  14. RWIII says:

    If Arizona is smart they will take Murray.

  15. RWIII says:

    Just for the record. Burkhardt was Johnny Manziel’s agent. Burkhardt is the N.FL. version of Scott Boras.

  16. Awsi Dooger says:

    Dominant numbers for Kyler Murray in all the advanced stats categories, in fact far superior to any of the 5 first round quarterbacks from last season. Murray will be gone very early. Clarity doesn’t hide forever

    https://twitter.com/SportsInfo_SIS/status/1093595996326711296

    That’s a great source of info overall. In a more recent tweet you’ll note the great numbers for Canes cornerback Michael Jackson. Very smooth aware player. I really thought he would turn pro last season and be drafted in perhaps the third round. Kirk Herbstreit raved about Jackson in the 2017 Canes home games versus Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. This season was more quiet for Jackson, primarily because he didn’t allow much to happen. I’m not sure how well he’ll test, though.

    https://twitter.com/SportsInfo_SIS/status/1095067437559627776

  17. millhouse-serbia says:

    Rob, what are your thoughts on Shane Ray?

  18. Georgia Hawk says:

    I’ll admit that I was one of those that was extremely put off by the DPS appearance. You are right, Rob, in that he needs a measure of understanding to the magnitude of his decision. Its easy to overlook that.

    At the same time I can’t get over how poorly coached/prepared/advised/etc he was for that appearance. This is the biggest Sports talk show in the nation, you HAD to know questions about your future were coming. He could easily have answered with “I haven’t made any decisions yet, but I’m not closing any doors yet either.” If he was coached to answer the way he did…..man I hate to see what other advice he is getting. If he wasn’t coached and answered like that on his own…isn’t that almost WORSE in some ways?

    I dunno, I applaud the guy for achieving what he has. I think he is going to make some serious waves in the NFL. I just hope that whatever team he has behind him; dad, agent, or other, doesn’t get in the way of his potential.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would encourage people to look beyond the DP interview. It’s one short interview. His head was probably all over the place. And he didn’t get good advice on how to handle it.

      But what kind of a world are we living in when people can’t get over one bad interview at a time when he probably shouldn’t be doing any just to advertise for Gatorade?

      Ah yes, a world where everyone is obsessed with social media, quick fire takes and any lack of perspective. And that’s not a criticism of you personally Georgia. It’s a criticism of the society we live in.

      Heck, it even impacts us here. I’ve never been asked so many times to pass comment on some tweet or short form report from some other website. And it’s why I asked you all about what you want from this site recently. It seems like long form articles, perspective, deep analysis and conversation is no longer the order of the day. Flash judgements, analysis via twitter and over reacting to minor events like one small interview are what people shout most about.

      • Georgia Hawk says:

        I don’t take it personal at all. Short of insulting my kids, there isn’t much you can say to get me riled (God save you if you even look sideways at my daughter).

        You are absolutely right, its one interview, one bad moment. He absolutely didn’t get good advice on how to handle it, and that more than anything else is what concerns me. If I’m his dad/agent, looking over the interview schedule, the one I circle is the DPS. Its the one you want to nail, no matter what.

        FWIW, I am extremely disdainful of twitter/social media in general. I hate the immediate access to a person’ random thought before they’ve had time to consider it. I am very much a think before you speak kinda guy, which I think is why this interview bothers me so much. Its not so much what it says about him, but what it says about those around him and what it could mean down the road for him.

    • Sea Mode says:

      Jim Nagy
      @JimNagy_SB

      Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf is a freaky specimen but when most football people see this the blink reaction will be that he’s getting too big. At this size, NFL teams will have concerns about his upper body flexibility. Hard to adjust and extend with this kind of bulk. #NFLDraft

      6:25 PM – 11 Feb 2019

  19. Sea Mode says:

    Whoa, huge news. Could push him down into late R1

    Adam Schefter
    @AdamSchefter

    From @mortreport and me: Mississippi St. DT Jeffery Simmons, projected to be a top 15-pick in April, suffered a knee injury during training that is thought to be a torn ACL, per league sources. A statement to offer clarity on Simmons’ injury is expected to be released today.

    7:04 AM – 12 Feb 2019

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