As Kyler Murray's NFL Stock Rises, Questions About His Future Persist
The question has trailed Kyler Murray all season and will likely reach a groundswell in the coming weeks.
Football or baseball?
Murray’s NFL Draft stock is rising. So much so that ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, Todd McShay, said Wednesday he thinks the two-sport star and current Oklahoma quarterback can go in the first round.
“I think Kyler Murray would be a first-round pick,” McShay said.
“I think the league is changing. It’s more about quick-twitch guys who can get the ball out and can move. He does that as well as anyone in the country, and I think he’s going to win the Heisman because of it. He’s made a decision to go to play baseball, and it’s probably the smart decision for the long-term of his career, but I’d love to see him give it a shot in the NFL because I think he has a chance to be a really good starting quarterback at the next level.”
Murray, of course, was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland A’s in the 2018 MLB Draft and inked a $4.66 million signing bonus. But the A’s allowed Murray to return to Oklahoma for his redshirt junior season to play quarterback, and he promptly lit the college football world aflame, leading the Sooners to a spot in the College Football Playoff and becoming one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy Award, which will be handed out Saturday.
Murray leads all college quarterbacks in passing efficiency, is second in touchdowns (40) and third in passing yards (4,053). The dual-threat quarterback has actually totaled more touchdowns (48) and yards (4,945) than Baker Mayfield.
And Mayfield went No. 1 overall in last year’s NFL Draft.
A’s fans suddenly tugging at their shirt collar should consider Scott Boras’ recent comments. Boras, who represents Murray, told Fancred’s Jon Heyman the two-sport star “will be in spring training with the A’s.” Murray similarly told the Oklahoman last week he still expects to play baseball.
“As of now, that’s the plan,” Murray said.
But he hasn’t extinguished the flame completely. In an ESPN interview with Tim Tebow, Murray was asked how he’ll decide his future. The only thing completely off the table, Murray said, is a return to Oklahoma next season for his senior year.
“I think that’s something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season,” Murray said. “Weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of you. Right now, my future is kind of already planned out, but we’ll see what happens.”
Murray’s height—he’s listed at 5-foot-11—could be a deterrent to NFL teams, but Mayfield is only 6-foot-1 and is showing promise this year as a rookie. It’s obviously less of a factor on the baseball field, where it should be noted Murray deploys a mix of tantalizing tools.
He is already Oakland’s No. 4 prospect entering 2019 despite not appearing professionally. His athleticism is apparent and suggests he can play a premium center field. Couple that with impressive exit velocities and Murray has a chance to develop three plus tools.
Even despite the uncertainty, the A’s felt they couldn’t pass on him with the ninth pick.
Of course, as we note in his scouting report, the book isn’t closed on football. Baseball America Executive Editor Matt Eddy fielded several Kyler Murray questions in our recent prospect chat, including whether he thinks Murray could still opt to play football.
Here’s Eddy’s response:
“This is a tricky question,” Eddy wrote. “I believe Murray will choose baseball because, despite the drawbacks to baseball you cite, he is more of a prototypical pro prospect in that sport. But you're right that it would only take one NFL team to draft him high and commit to him as QB.”
Somehow, it doesn’t feel like the question is going away any time soon.