For most of the college football season Kyler Murray has appeared ticketed to a career in baseball. Now he’s headed to the NFL Draft.
Kyler Murray has already managed to become a first round pick in the MLB Draft when the Oakland Athletics selected him with the No. 9 overall pick in June. Now the Oklahoma signal caller has his sights set on doing the same thing in football. Recent reports claim Murray intends on entering this April’s NFL Draft.
The San Francisco Chronicle is carrying the story that claims Athletics officials believe Murray does intend to declare for the draft on Sunday. That, in and of itself, doesn’t mean he’s made the decision to reject Oakland’s $4.66 million baseball offer. The real decision date lies in February when he’ll have to choose between reporting to the Athletics preseason activities or heading to the NFL combine.
The Athletics may be playing things cool at the moment, but Murray’s decision to entertain the draft process should be setting off alarm bells in the Bay. At the very least, it proves the Oklahoma quarterback is thinking hard about choosing football over baseball. That sort of indecision isn’t something you want out of your highly compensated first round selection.
It’s an entirely understandable choice from Murray’s perspective. As the college football season progressed, his stock steadily rose with NFL scouts. He wasn’t able to pilot the Sooners to a College Football Playoff title, but he still put up impressive numbers against tough defenses all year-long. His outing against Alabama in the National Semifinal likely won over any skeptics that remained about his ability to play football against elite competition. Murray threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns against Nick Saban’s defense.
Murray has a definite chance to be a first round pick this April, but some teams may shy away from him because he lacks prototypical size for an NFL signal caller. The history of 5-foot-10 quarterbacks who turn into stars at the pro level isn’t is pretty short. A player like Russell Wilson looks like a solid comp for Murray, but even he is a full inch taller. However, Murray’s mobility makes him a really good fit for NFL coaches who want their quarterbacks to make more plays out on the edge.
It is clear Murray is going to have a big decision to make when February arrives. He’s going to be projected as a first round pick even before the Combine arrives. That means he’ll need to choose between the path of a first round MLB player or first round NFL player. It’s a great problem to have, but it’s still going to cause Murray some sleepless nights.