Breaking down Kyler Murray's strengths and weaknesses, impact on the 2019 NFL Draft
Examining where Murray thrives, where he needs to improve, and how he'd affect the 2019 quarterback class
Kyler Murray is NFL Draft, so let's analyze his game and how it will translate to the professional level.for the 2019
The reigning Heisman winner completed 69% of his throws this season at a ridiculous 11.6 yards-per-attempt clip with 42 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. He also ran 141 times for 1,001 yards with 12 scores on the ground.
If he does indeed declare, Murray will provide a jolt of excitement to this year's quarterback class and ultimately be one of the most talked about prospects in the entire draft.
As a top 10 overall pick in pro baseball, Murray has the physical attributes you'd expect from a middle infielder. He has a lightning-quick delivery, throws very accurately to the short and intermediate levels of the field and can make those pinpoint throws from a variety of arm angles and with his feet in less-than-ideal positions. He can turn a double play on the diamond and hit a receiver in stride on a slant from a three-quarter release point without his feet being perfectly set underneath him. Murray's throwing versatility allows him to stay productive as a passer outside of the planned structure of the play.
If you've followed my evaluations for even a few weeks, you know how highly I value a quarterback's pocket presence. After accuracy, I think it's the most vital aspect of a signal-caller's skill set. In the NFL, quarterback's are pressured around 33% of the time on average. On those plays, the bad quarterbacks are separated from the good ones, and the great ones stand alone. Breaking down pocket presence into two subcategories: pocket patience and pocket movement ... Murray is more impressive in the former than the latter. With pocket patience, which most quarterback prospects don't have much of, a passer is willing to wait inside a clean pocket and survey the field after his first read isn't there. Murray demonstrated the ability to patiently wait behind the line, inside the pocket and scan to find secondary and tertiary targets this season. Oftentimes, his patience paid off, and he delivered strikes while reading the entire field ... another plus on his resume.
At around 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Murray is insanely athletic for the quarterback spot. He's quicker than fast but displayed impressive long speed on a few big-gainers down the field. He probably shouldn't be utilized on as many designed runs in the NFL as he was at Oklahoma, but if need be, he can extend plays by making pro defenders miss. I liken his scrambling skills, ability to avoid free rushers, and juke defensive linemen, linebackers, and some defensive backs to Tyrod Taylor's.
Similar to Baker Mayfield, Murray generates more velocity than expected at his size. This part of his game is fourth on this list because, compared to today's NFL standards, Murray's arm is good, not great. He can drive the football across the field on long, out-breaking routes and stretch defenses between 50-60 yards downfield, which is around the normal in-game maximum for pro QBs.
The easy-to-spot ding on Murray as an NFL prospect. Russell Wilson was a hair under 5-11 at the 2012 combine, but he weighed well over 200 pounds. Murray could actually measure in under 5-10 and will probably be under 200 pounds, both extreme lows for the quarterback spot in the NFL. In theory, his small stature would diminish some of what he could do as a runner, which was a sizable portion of his Heisman-winning campaign in 2018.
For as patient as Murray can be despite his elite athleticism, he's not exactly a deft pocket drifter at this point. Yes, he flashed the ability to subtly maneuver away from oncoming defenders ... it just wasn't a consistent part of his game for the Sooners. At times, he'd leave the pocket to run at the first sign of pressure, a clear-cut negative. I rarely saw him drift directly into a sack, but Murray has to get better operating inside the pocket in tight quarters.
Murray is not very experienced. Plain and simple. He made 17 career starts in college. Historically, he'd be one of the least-experienced first-round quarterbacks. However, quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky have recently set a precedent that signal-callers don't necessarily need to be three or even two-year starters to go early in the draft.
Impact on QB class
Just a few weeks ago, this was not a quarterback class about which to get excited. Now, with Dwayne Haskins declaring and Murray on the verge of doing the same, it's, at the very least, a fascinating signal-caller group bound to be extremely polarizing. While Drew Lock has the most extensive resume of the top signal-callers and a cannon of an arm along with traditional NFL size, Haskins and especially Murray have more pizzazz and seemingly align a little better with the current Air Raid movement at the professional level.
I believe Murray would be a first-round pick and, in my estimation, worth such a selection. He'd begin the pre-draft process as my No. 3 quarterback behind Lock and Haskins. In the right system -- which the team willing to draft him early would likely have in place -- Murray can be a successful quarterback in the NFL.
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