Over the past few weeks, there hasn’t been a more talked about name in the NFL world than Kyler Murray. Murray, the 21-year-old former Oklahoma Sooner QB, caused quite the stir at the NFL combine when he officially measured in at 5 foot 10 inches (and 1/8th very important to count every inch). A number of scouts and football pundits spent most of 2018 claiming that Murray was “too small” to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. With his combine height results, Murray proved that he was similar in height to already elite QBs like Drew Brees and Russel Wilson (I guess you could also include Johny Manziel in this list but just remove the elite adjective).
So, what does this all mean? Well, to begin with, Murray shouldn’t have to worry so much about his height in the first place. When looking at the past seven years, QBs in the NFL that have led the league in battened down passes have all been taller than 6’3″:
2012 Weeden (6’3″) 21 batted passes
2013 Henne (6’3″) 20 batted passes
2014 Tannehill (6’4″) 17 batted passes
2015 Bortles (6’5″) 20 batted passes
2016 Bortles again 20 batted passes
2017 Stafford (6’3″) 15 batted passes
2018 Cousins (6’3″) 17 batted passes
On top of that, Russel Wilson has never even been in the top 10 of batted passes in his career. Baker Mayfield (6’1″) has a total of 5 batted passes over the past three seasons, and at the end of the day whether you are 6’5″ or 5’9″ batted passes will sometimes happen. It is unlikely that an inch or two more will make that much of a difference.
When Murray officially measured in at the combine, he immediately changed the conversation regarding his landing spot in the draft. It was widely regarded that Ohio St QB Dwayne Haskins was the top QB this year. Yet, that all changed when Murray shocked the world with his height. Before the combine people were claiming that Murray would measure in at 5’8″! Now there isn’t one football expert that doesn’t see Murray going before Haskins.
At the combine, Murray jumped through some of the normal hoops (interviews, measurements, etc…). Unlike most, he refused to do any of the typical performance related drills, opting instead to show off his talents at the Oklahoma Sooners pro day. That pro day was today, here are some of the key takeaways I got from his performance.
Weight and Height
Murray weighed in at 205 pounds, so from the combine to his pro day he has lost 2 pounds. Guess that is better than losing two inches off his height! Interestingly enough with this much scrutiny on his height, Murray refused to be remeasured at the pro day. I don’t think, unlike some NFL pundits, he has anything to hide, but I do believe he is as tired of hearing about his height as most of us are.
Accuracy and Footwork
I can confidently say that Murray has one of the nicest throws that I can remember from any rookie QB in the last couple of years. His confidence is obvious, and when he throws the ball, you can see why. The comparisons to Baker Mayfield are understandable, but I prefer the footwork that Murray has. He moves like an NFL QB with years of experience. His balls were always on target, and some of his deep passes caused a number of spectators to clap.
— NFL (@NFL) March 14, 2019
One thing that I found interesting were the people that actually showed up for Murray’s pro day. Notably absent were Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury and GM Steve Klein. The Cardinals hold the number one pick in this year’s draft, and there has been speculation that they are currently shopping Josh Rosen (who they drafted last year!) to be able to draft Murray. Kingsbury is in his first year as head coach, and his connection to Murray is undeniable. Back when Kingsbury was at Texas Tech he openly said that he would draft Murray number one overall. Also, whether this matters or not, when Murray officially chose football over baseball he hired Erik Burkhardt as his agent. Burkhardt also represents Kingsbury. Also present was new XFL General Manager Bob Stoops, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor.
At the end of the day, Murray once again added to all the tape he had put together in college when he threw for 5406 yards and 50 TDs and rushed for 1478 yards and 13 TDs. His pro day only strengthened his chances of going high in the NFL draft. At the beginning of March, his odds to go first overall at most sportsbooks were around +160. Today, they currently sit at -420.
Murray is a generational talent, one that I think the Arizona Cardinals would be crazy not to take with their first overall pick. Rosen is talented, but I think Murray fits the scheme and offense that Kingsbury brings to the team. Will they have the same sort of connection as McVay and Goff, the kind of connection the entire NFL is seemingly trying to emulate? I don’t know, but I think Murray is the QB that will give the Cardinals the best chance of winning in the coming years.