Kyler Murray, and his decision regarding whether or not to play baseball or football at the next level, has been THE polarizing story of the 2019 NFL Draft. The 2018 Heisman winner put up all sorts of ridiculous numbers during his first full year as a starter at the college level. The junior QB scored 54 total TDs at Oklahoma in 2018. He completed 69% of his passes, compiling 4,361 yards through the air and another 1,001 yards on the ground.
Now that Kyler has officially declared for the draft, he should be among the options the Jaguars are considering with their first round pick.
The numbers are truly impressive. But when projecting how college football players will perform at the next level, it’s less about the numbers and more about how those numbers are achieved. From my vantage point Murray is a top flight QB prospect. 10 years ago, before the NFL transitioned to a spread league, Murray’s road to success as a pro would have been much more difficult. But in this pass happy NFL, where quarterbacks are in shotgun more than they’re under center, Kyler Murray could become one of the faces of the league we know and love. He passes with an effortless flick of his wrist. He’s fantastic from the pocket — his feet are constantly shuffling to give him a good base to throw from — and reads the field very well. He’s one of the most accurate short to intermediate passers I’ve studied in recent years. But when he’s on the run Kyler Murray is at his best. He's a killer when he’s testing the defense with both his arms and legs. Outside of the pocket there’s no one more dangerous than the twenty one year old from Oklahoma. He has uncanny accuracy and is seemingly able to contort his body however he needs to in order to complete passes. And he’s absolutely dynamite in the open field. While there are plenty of mobile QBs in the NFL, there’s none quite like Kyler. He has lightning quick feet and makes defenders miss with ease.
In my mind, there’s little not to like about Kyler Murray’s game. But the question many scouts, general managers and coaches will be asking themselves is can he succeed in the NFL as a 5’10’’ (ish) QB that weighs in at just under 200 lbs. Again, 10 years ago you would have been hard pressed to get a yes out of many GMs, but now, with the rules the way they are, I think most GMs are salivating at the chance to add Murray to their QB room. Passers are so well protected by the rules that they rarely take the bone jarring hits the QBs of days past were subject to. And beyond that Murray is able avoid contact more often that not. He employs a lightning quick baseball slide that usually keeps him out of harms way. As for his ability to get the ball over the big trees in the middle of the field, that wasn’t a problem at Oklahoma and with a spread offense it won’t be at the next level either.
Murray’s skill set makes him my QB1. Perhaps he’s not as safe as Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State, who has the prototypical size that NFL teams are looking for, but he’s got the most game changing potential of any player in the draft. Whether he’s the top QB or second best guy, Murray should absolutely be on the Jaguars radar. Adding a player like him could change the fortunes of the Jaguars in a hurry. Either way, whether the Jaguars identify Murray or Haskins as their number one guy, they should do everything they can to secure their QB of the future.
It should be noted that Murray declaring for the draft does not lock him into having to play for whichever NFL team drafts him. He could still opt to play baseball instead. But the fact that he's said in the past the NFL has always been his dream and that he's believed to enjoy football more than baseball bodes well for his future NFL future.
Stay tuned for more!
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