In late April former Oklahoma quarterback and 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray WILL be the first ever athlete to be drafted in the first round of the MLB and NFL Draft.
In 2018 the Oakland Athletics selected Murray with the ninth overall selection of the MLB draft. His contract with Oakland included a $4.66 million signing bonus. In early February, Murray announced that he will be fully committing to a career in the NFL, forfeiting his lucrative signing bonus.
In baseball Murray was not considered a scrub by any means. According the MLB Pipeline, Murray was ranked the fourth best prospect in the A's system before ever playing a game in the A's organization. He hit .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 189 at-bats as a redshirt sophomore with Oklahoma in 2018. Instead of enduring years in the minor leagues, Murray chose the short route to entering the NFL right away making north of 20 million dollars.
Murray has been a winner his entire life. At Allen High School in Texas he finished his high school career undefeated with a 43-0 record, winning three state championships in Texas' highest category. In 2015 he was named the Gatorade player of the year along with winning three more national player of the year honors.
In his Heisman winning year at Oklahoma, Murray led the Sooners to four come from behind victories as the
Sooners faced four second-half deficits. Murray led the NCAA in QBR (96.0), passing efficiency (205.7), total offense (4,945 yards), yards per passing attempt (11.9), and 51 total touchdowns (both rushing and passing). Murray and the Sooners took away the Big 12 championship before losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semi-finals.
Many believe Murray will be a bust due to his size. He is listed as 5 feet 10 inches but many football insiders believe he could be as short as 5-foot-8. At the NFL combine we finally found out Kyler is indeed 5-feet-10 1/8 inches. Murray will be the shortest QB drafted since 1984 Heisman Trophy winner, Doug Flutie. Flutie had a rough NFL tenure and was forced to play in the Canadian Football League for eight years before finishing his career with the New England Patriots in 2005.
Now that he is headed to the next level people believe that his size won't translate to the NFL. Back in the day, a QB was expected to be tall. However, in today's NFL mobility is the name of the game. Not saying that all tall QB's aren't successful but many notable busts have been ones with great size. Brock Oswiler is 6 feet 8 inches and Paxton Lynch is 6 feet 7 inches. Joe Flacco is the tallest Super Bowl winning quarterback at 6 feet 6 inches.
In recent years small mobile QB's have taken over the league. Seahawks QB Russel Wilson slipped to the third round of the 2012 draft because of concerns regarding his size. Two Super Bowl's and one ring later, the 5-foot-11-inch Wilson is considered one of the most reliable QB's in the NFL. Drew Brees has had a Hall of Fame career at 6 feet. Aaron Rodgers is 6 feet 2 inches which is below the 6-foot-4-inch average of NFL QB's. Murray is 5-foot-10, so are the extra two or three inches really going to matter that much? At that point Murray is already at the size where he is going to have to rely on his athleticism and mobility to be successful.
Besides Murray's size, critics want to point to the fact that Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley's offense will not translate into the NFL. If that's your argument against Murray just look at Baker Mayfield. The Oklahoma QB who won the Heisman one year prior to Murray was selected first overall by the Browns in last years draft. Mayfield finished second in rookie of the year voting to Saquon Barkley who had 26.5 votes to Mayfield's 21.5 votes.
Last years QB draft class was headlined by USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and Wyoming's Josh Allen. Baker at one point was predicted to be the fourth QB taken in the draft. It was not until the week, or even the day of the draft where there was speculation that Mayfield was going first overall to the Browns. Mayfield led Cleveland to seven wins in his rookie year after Cleveland went winless in 2017. So far looks like the Browns got it right with Mayfield.
After the NFL combine word on the street is Arizona will take Kyler Murray first overall, after new Cardinals' head coach Kliff Kingsbury praised him last season while Kingsbury was still head coach of Texas Tech.
Murray has never not succeeded in any aspect of his career. Murray is a freak athlete and a competitor who won't let himself be un-successful at the NFL level. You saw his baseball numbers, you saw what he did in high school and at Oklahoma. Watch him play and look at the beautiful throw he possesses along with his mobility. The modern NFL isn't about size anymore, it's about athleticism and Kyler Murray has proved too many times he is too athletic to be a bust.
If you don't love Kyler Murray now, you still might not in a few months if he doesn't play for your team.