QB – Oklahoma
Height: 5’10 1/8
Est 40: 4.5
Est 3-cone: 6.65
He’s short. He has small hands. Next. That’s a scouting take on a prospect? Let’s not talk about his arm talent, release rate, touch, accuracy, anticipation, reads, pocket awareness, pocket mobility, athletic mobility, mechanics, adaptable mechanics, leadership, work ethic, intelligence or how he will be attacked by NFL defenses. Those things don’t matter. We should also ignore the mountain of evidence he’s put on display on the field. He’s short. He has small hands. Next. Correction. He is a top 5 lock. He is the 3rd best player in the draft and if you are a team with a disaster at QB, (such as Rosen, Winston or Eli) you should not hesitate to take him with the 1st overall pick.
Now for the boring stuff.
Compact three quarter arm angle that shows a quick release. There is no unnecessary loop or wasted movement in his arm motion and his velocity appears to comfortably rest around 55 mph. It looks natural, effortless and repeatable. He loses 1-2 mph off his velocity on his back foot, (when he relies solely on his hips,shoulder and wrist to generate torque) but he can also reach back for more. He throws a tight spiral despite not being an elite level ball spinner and the ball does not die or drag on boundary throws, nor does it fall apart and flutter when he forces extra torque into it. (Threw a cross body double-pumped bullet vs Alabama that likely hit 60 mph) At this time, he does not have an elite NFL arm but it is well past the threshold needed for success on the NFL level. That being said, he has enough wherewithal to put as much heat on a ball as the throw requires and he can ramp up to that elite level when needed.
What is a pocket? Kyler likes to live on the edge around the pocket. This is the one area where you can be overly critical of his game. He feels pressure well, but he also feels it too well. He operates well in a clean pocket, is a magician when the pocket is blown, but he feels a strong call to action when the pocket is decaying. Often, that is the wrong move to make. This is also where his height comes into play. As the space around him tightens, he gets uncomfortable due to lost sight lines. Instead of trying to escape a threat that isn’t there, he needs to become more patient and slide within the pocket. Until that improvement is made, he will make life harder on himself in those instances.
Then it gets fun.
Really, really fun.
Kyler plays in a spread offense and his reads are not NFL quality. You’ve probably heard this knee jerk generalization. It is far from the truth. Kyler is regularly operating in multiple regions during a play. Like it or not WCO traditionalists but that’s a progression. He can work his way through a bunch stack, check a vert and come back to a late developing drag route. All while operating in the pocket. You know, like an NFL QB. On top of a quicker possessing ability then say, 4 of the other 5 top prospects in the 2019 QB, Murray is also a strong anticipatory thrower. Verts are released when the WR evens up on the CB and WR’s are lead out of their breaks to open space. A further sign of this is that, in a clean pocket, Murray will slide to gain a clear throwing lane for a route that hasn’t cleared coverage yet. Both his ability to read the field and his ability to anticipate a window is already at NFL level. However, it doesn’t end there. Baker Mayfield had instant NFL success coming out of this system. Both Mayfield and Murray had no trouble when this offense matched up vs a team running zone. When a team went man vs Mayfield results took a turn for the worse as he became reluctant to attack options that lacked significant separation. Murray does not have this same weakness. He is as comfortable versus zone as he is placing the ball where only his WR can make a play versus man. Murray is better than Mayfield.
Mechanics, adaptable mechanics, accuracy, touch:
There are also Russell Wilson comparisons being made frequently and as a lifelong Badger fan, who stayed up to watch Hotrod Wilson’s NC State game re-airs on ESPN, let me put those comparisons to rest. Their mechanics are dramatically different and once again this favors Murray. Russell Wilson generates his torque above the waist. His weight change and hip rotation is on the weaker side of the spectrum. He generates torque in the shoulder arm and wrist. This leads to issues with accuracy and hinders touch. The more strain you put on the arm the harder it is to achieve a high level of touch. Murray is quite different. Murray has a lower half that mirrors Tom Brady when the ball is released. His hip rotation is on the higher end of the spectrum and he uses his arm more as a lever than a torque generator. He drives his shoulder and gets a good spiral off his wrist. His mechanics are very balanced and the pronounced hip rotation creates a number of positives. If Murray needs to ratchet up the velocity or is throwing off his back foot he can get more torque from his arm. This makes his mechanics adaptable and allows him to function off platform without losing the results. It is also important to note that it allows him to use his arm to place the ball. Murray has fantastic ball placement instincts. This is a trait that Rosen completely lacks and a trait that saves Lamar Jackson’s accuracy and weak arm. Murray’s ball placement is not just good, it is elite level. When you put his ball placement together with his easy and adaptable mechanics, you have a special thrower.
Mobililty, pocket mobility: Then to top it all off. This. Do I even need to speak of this? He is as fast as any QB we have ever seen and is the quickest QB we have ever seen. Unlike DeShaun Watson, Murray seems to understand that your job as a QB is to never get hit. While DeShaun still runs himself like a battering ram into broken ribs, Murray knows to escape, grab grass, and baseball slide down. People are highly concerned that he is only 207lbs and they believe that will lead to injuries.
That is nonsense. Tyreek Hill is 180 lbs and Hill doesn’t have the luxury of sliding anytime he sees a tackler coming. Simply put, you can’t hurt what you can’t hit and squaring up on Murray will be a challenge for any defender on any level.
Murray will go 1st overall. The question is who will be picking him at #1. When you look at the players involved it seems very clear Kliff Kingsbury wants him and rightfully so. Rosen is a disaster who can not run KK’s version of the spread offense. He will get killed. He will turn yellow. He will throw the ball to the other team. However, 1 can’t be used on Murray unless Arizona can find a buyer for Rosen. A buyer willing to pay a price that doesn’t make using the 10th pick on him last year an utter embarrassment. Is there someone that stupid? New York, Miami, Washington or Tennessee? Time will tell.Gruden surely wants him in Oakland, but he is likely reluctant to trade up when his team is an utter disaster. His 10 year 100 million dollar pact allows him to drive the tank straight to Lawrence 2021 while having job security. If Arizona can’t sort this out, Arians in Tampa Bay is ready to pounce. Arians watched Mahomes and Watson go in the 3 picks ahead of him in 2017. Then he retired in 2018. Then he unretired and wanted to work with Mayfield only to land in TB who has the 5th pick. He wants Murray. Badly. Evans, Desean, Godwin, OJ and Murray. That’ll work. How does it get done?
TB trades 5 and their 2020 1st to AZ for 1
AZ trades 5 and 33 to NYJ for 3 and 105
TB gets Murray, AZ still gets Quinnen, and the Jets add a quality 2nd round pick. Everyone is happy.
Conclusion: Up until Kyler Murray said he was committed to football, I assumed he was going to play baseball and I gave him very little thought. He was fun to watch but I brushed the idea of him aside. When he made his intentions known I went back and re-watched his games in detailed fashion, treating him like every other draft prospect. I did not expect to come to the conclusion I’ve arrived at. Due to that, I won’t destroy Mel Kiper who recently said that Josh Rosen (setting my hatred of Rosen aside) would be the highest rated QB in this draft. That’s not close to the truth and he would know better if he watched Murray closely. As of today, if you freeze time and grade QB’s as they currently are, Murray is the 2nd best QB prospect in the last 5 years. Mahomes is 1 and the only QBs who have a chance of unseating Murray from the top 2 are Wentz, Trubisky, and Darnold. There is no doubt that Murray is one of the best five QBs produced in the last 5 drafts. His athletic traits will get him lumped into the “running” QB category, but he could stand alone on his passing ability. You can’t say that for Cunningham, Vick, Newton, Wilson, and Watson. Even when you look at those predecessors, Murray is the best athlete at QB that we’ve ever seen while being the purest passer of any of the QBs labelled a “runner.”
He will be a top 8 QB in this league from day 1. Now that the combine has started and word is spreading the talking heads are catching up. They’ll explain that by saying his height and hand size measuring where it did alleviated concerns. That’s not the case. His flaws are incredibly small and so insignificant that it didn’t matter if he measured 5’8 with 9’ hands. He’s the best QB in this draft by a long margin. He’s one of the best QB’s we’ve seen come out of the draft in a long while.