Kyler Murray’s NFL stock is rising, he’s being compared to Patrick Mahomes Jr. and the Heisman winner will get his chance to show it at the NFL combine.
The Arizona Cardinals have a second-year QB and a rookie head coach in “anointed” quarterback guru Kliff Kingsbury. Rookie QB Josh Rosen has shown flashes of being a very capable NFL quarterback. Unfortunately,the team around him was pitiful and cost first-year coach Steve Wilkerson his job after one season. There are many needs that the Cardinals could address to help Rosen’s development, but don’t rule out Kyler Murray as the team’s No. 1 overall pick.
Drafting Murray would create a classic QB battle in preseason between the two young guns which would be the talk of the NFL. When’s the last time anybody even cared about the Cardinals? Murray’s arrival would equal automatic national exposure for the forgotten franchise who has the No. 1 overall pick for the first time since the common draft era began in 1967.
"Look, you only live once and you would hope you only get to draft a quarterback first overall once. If Kliff Kingsbury wants Kyler Murray, you draft him first overall. Nothing against Josh Rosen. It's about going all-in with your gut." – @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/ExlL7QVP9Z
— GMFB (@gmfb) February 25, 2019
“Kyler’s a freak and I’ve followed him since high school. I just think the world of him and what he can do on a football field,” Kingsbury said back on October 28 when Murray was still undecided. “I don’t have enough good things to say about him. He’s phenomenal. I’ve never seen him have a poor outing. Not one, which as a QB is impossible to do, but he’s done it and I’d take him with the first pick in the draft if I could. I know he’s committed to baseball, but he’s a dominant football player and I would take him with the first pick.”
When that comment dropped, everybody thought Murray was going to take the MLB route. When he committed to pro football 100 percent, everything changed.
It’s common knowledge that Klingsbury also coached Patrick Mahomes Jr. when he was balling at Texas Tech, so he knows what to do with quarterbacks with unique and unteachable skills sets. Mahomes went on to throw for a rookie-record 50 TD passes and 5,097 yards this season.
“It’s a favorable comparison,” said NY Jets QB Josh McCown, who appeared as a guest analyst on ESPN’s Get Up. “Both have baseball backgrounds. Kyler has a very strong arm and he makes plays similar to Patrick, so I think there’s a tie-in there where you can look at that and say Pat played for Cliff in college and here they are sitting with the No. 1 pick…It makes sense for Kliff with all of the things he wants to do with the (Arizona) offense, to look at a guy like Kyler Murray.”
Giving up MLB was a decision that shocked some, but had to be made if he Murray wanted to be taken seriously as an elite QB prospect in April’s NFL Draft. Since cutting ties with the Oakland A’s and the $4.66 million signing bonus he was to receive, Murray’s NFL stock has skyrocketed despite his unprecedented 5-foot-10, 195-pound stature (his camp says he’s up to 206 for the NFL Combine).
The two-sport phenom has quickly moved up various draft boards and Mel Kiper has him as the No. 2 QB prospect on his Big Board.
The mystery lies in which team will grab the Heisman Trophy winner first.
When he steps on the scale at the NFL combine, it will mark one of the most anticipated weigh-ins in NFL combine history as Murray looks to become the first modern-era player selected in the top 10 in both the NFL and MLB drafts.
Murray’s presence at the combine will create a circus-like atmosphere, the likes of which we’ve probably never seen in Indianapolis. With Murray having such an unprecedented physical composition for an NFL prospect, there’s tremendous pressure on teams who might draft him to hit with the pick. There’s equal pressure on teams not to bypass the next Michael Vick.
We will also get to see if Klingsbury was blowing smoke or if the perfect player fell into his lap. He says he doesn’t regret gushing over Murray, but stands by his current QB.
If the Cardinals don’t draft Murray, then that means that Klingsbury is either a big-time talker or he doesn’t have any influence on draft decisions. That would make him a young figurehead who has to coach the players he’s given rather than ones that perfectly fit into his system.
Either way, if Murray has the potential of a Patrick Mahomes and teams truly believe that he can be just as effective, then he could shock the world and get drafted No. 1 overall.