For the last couple of months, the debate has raged: which sport will Kyler Murray, the 2018-19 Heisman Trophy winner and Oakland Athletics 9th overall pick, choose?
Well, it sounds like Kyler Murray has made his decision. Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) of the San Francisco Chronicles reported that the A’s expect their top pick to enter the NFL Draft.
While it isn’t official, this news is big for the upcoming quarterback class in this year’s draft. Murray would make this group a lot stronger, as the NFL is very high on him at the moment with some GMs and executives reportedly saying Murray will be drafted in the first round despite his small size.
With all the hype surrounding him, let’s take a look at the Heisman Trophy winner:
This throw is just stupid good. Murray shows elite mobility out of the pocket with some insane quickness to evade the sack by Anfernee Jennings (#33). Murray has made plenty of these throws on the move, but this is arguably his best throw of the year. DROPPING DIMES FOR DAYS!
But in all seriousness, as a passer of the football, Murray is pretty damn good for the most part. He might have the best arm in the entire QB class, as he shows tremendous touch and great ball velocity. He’s also got great poise in the pocket and is one of the more accurate single-callers in the draft.
Can you say human highlight-reel? Murray is also one of the more incredible athletes I’ve ever seen. He’s got outstanding vision as a runner and can absolutely fly. He may run a 4.3 or 4.4 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s that freaky. This is why the NFL loves him so much.
There are obvious concerns, though. First of all, size is easily one of them. Kyler Murray is around 5’9″-5’10” and just under 200 lbs. If he were to be drafted, he’d easily be the smallest quarterback in the NFL. Secondly, he’s not an anticipatory thrower. From the games I’ve seen live on TV, I rarely saw him make anticipation throws. Note that this opinion of mine could be very different once I get an in-depth look at Murray.
So what type of scheme or team would Kyler Murray fit best?
I had a discussion earlier with Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield), one of the best QB gurus on Twitter, about potential scheme fits for Murray. Like me, Mark has yet to fully study him in order to fully understand his needs and options as a QB. Based off of what we’ve seen, some options have included a spread West Coast/Air Raid type of offense, a Coryell Hybrid that stems from downfield shots off play-action, a Gary Kubiak offense that is embedded around play-action and bootlegs,or a Norv Turner-like offense that he has installed in Carolina such as play-action, zone reads, triple-options, etc.
When discussing these options with Mark, a few teams came to mind: the Giants, Jaguars, Broncos, and maybe the Dolphins.
The Giants have a great play-caller and schemer in head coach Pat Shurmur. Shurmur runs a West Coast-type offense that includes the studs of Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley, and Evan Engram. Murray would be a fantastic fit in New York, but some might think 6th overall is too high from him. Either way, I think Shurmur could scheme the offense to benefit Murray.
Jacksonville would be an interesting fit. They obviously need a QB after the Bortles experiment failed. Their offense, though, fits nicely to what Murray would probably benefit in: the Coryell Hybrid. The Jags have guys that can stretch the field in Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark. The question: would Tom Coughlin take a talented QB with size with the 7th pick in the draft? We will see.
With Gary Kubiak as OC in Denver, I could see a fit there for sure. Kubiak loves his play-action and bootlegs, plus he’s got guys like Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders, Cortland Sutton, and DeSean Hamilton as weapons on offense. John Elway hasn’t had success in drafting QBs as of late. Maybe taking Murray at #10 could end those recent failures.
The reason I said “maybe the Dolphins” is because 1) they obviously need a QB and 2) who the hell is going to be their head coach? All signs point to Kris Richards, the Cowboys current defensive and passing game coordinator to be the franchise’s 13th head coach. Richards was under Pete Carroll for some time and coached Russell Wilson, the player some are comparing to the Heisman Trophy winner. The team is wanting to go in a younger direction and they look to be in the start of a rebuild. Murray could potentially be the young star they are looking for and he has the weapons to make Miami’s offense explosive in Kenyan Drake, Albert Wilson, and Jakeem Grant. But, that’s assuming Richards becomes their HC, so things are still up in the air with this option.
So, my personal opinion about what and where Kyler Murray fits is this: I think he’s got the arm talent and athleticism to play in almost any offense in the league. The Giants, Broncos, Dolphins, and Jaguars are all great options. But one team keeps popping up in my head: the Los Angeles Chargers. Phillip Rivers is in his final years and Murray could sit on the bench until Rivers retires. The Chargers are a stacked team and if things go according to plan, Murray could be the starter the day the team plays its first game in their new stadium.
Kyler Murray has made this upcoming draft process a fun one to watch. Is he the QB1 of this weak QB class? Possibly. But there’s one thing you can’t deny: he is one talented dude and the hype and controversy around him won’t stop anytime soon.