Kyler Murray: “I couldn’t go out with a bad taste in my mouth”
Kyler Murray is no longer done with his football career. The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback officially threw his name into NFL consideration Monday when he declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Murray, who was taken by the Oakland Athletics with the No. 9 pick of the 2018 MLB Draft, will now have three days to withdraw from the Draft should he decide to instead chase a baseball career, but the guaranteed money he stands to make as a likely first-round pick will probably outweigh the $4.66-million signing bonus he agreed to with the Athletics last year.
In a Draft short on quarterbacks, Murray’s entry is a boon for for some of the quarterback-needy teams around the league -- including the Miami Dolphins.
At No. 13, the Dolphins figure to be picking right around the range where Murray could land and multiple mock drafts see it as a logical fit. Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com and Benjamin Solak of TheDraftNetwork.com both predict Miami will select the Oklahoma Sooner with its first-round pick.
In Solak’s write-up, he acknowledges it’s tough to get a gauge on what the Dolphins will do until a new coaching staff is in place, but says taking Murray is a high-reward move with relatively low risk because of the position Miami is working from.
“If Murray flops,” he wrote, “Miami will only be in the exact same spot as they are now, just two years later [and with a better pick].”
The criticisms for Murray are consistent around the NFL scouting community. He’s a 5-foot-9, run-first quarterback and there’s not a long track record of those types of players thriving at the professional level.
On the other hand, Murray is about as good an athlete as there is at the quarterback position and possesses massive arm strength. He led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff in his lone season as the starter in Norman, and finished his junior year with 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions on 260-of-377 passing. The former five-star recruit also ran for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns on 140 carries.
Cherepinsky’s write-up on a potential Dolphins pick is quite a bit more negative. The draft analyst is more skeptical of Murray’s pro potential, citing an unnamed National Football Conference personnel source, who put a second-round grade on the All-American. Cherepinsky surmises teams are attempting to inflate Murray’s value with the hope some team will reach. Right now, he predicts it will be Miami.
“Who could take Murray in the first round? Well, there’s no dumber owner of a bad team in the NFL than Stephen Ross,” Cherepinsky wrote. “I’m sure he’s smart in real life, but when it comes to managing his football team, Ross has made countless blunders. Ross also loves hype. He constantly invites celebrities no one cares about to games to try to draw a crowd. This would be another instance of Ross trying to draw attention to the Dolphins. He may demand for his next regime to draft Murray because he thinks a 5-foot-9, 190-pound quarterback, who thrived in a conference where zero defense is played, won’t get half of his passes batted at the line of scrimmage somehow.”
Other prognosticators are even more bullish on Murray, though. CBSSports.com’s Ryan Wilson slots Murray at No. 6 to the New York Giants. SB Nation’s Dan Kadar projects Murray to go No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A few other mock drafts have Murray falling a bit farther. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler pegs Murray to go No. 15 to the Washington Redskins. USA Today’s Luke Easterling puts Murray at No. 27 to the Oakland Raiders, using one of their multiple first-round picks. Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports’ other draft analyst, has Murray going No. 29 to the New England Patriots.
Whether it’s Murray or not, Miami seems poised to take a quarterback somewhere in the early rounds this year. Injuries limited Ryan Tannehill to only 11 games this season and the quarterback finished with a career-worst 33.1 Total Quarterback Rating. The Dolphins missed the playoffs for the second straight season and fired coach Adam Gase after three years.