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Kyler Murray knows he measures up to the NFL hype

What You Need To Know: Kyler Murray

A look at the 2019 quarterback draft class

When Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray’s measurements were announced at the NFL scouting combine, a collective shrill rippled through Lucas Oil Stadium and to the connected convention center.

The combine was abuzz because Murray was measured at 5-foot, 10-1/8 inches tall, just barely enough to fit into the NFL measurable matrix.

“When he measured, when it flashed out 5-10 and 1/8, it was like ‘Wow,’ ” NFL Network analyst Charles Davis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “For him, 5-10 and 1/8th was like 6-3. It was like all of sudden he was Paul Bunyan.”

On his way to winning the Heisman Trophy last season, Murray completed 69 percent of his passes for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions for the Sooners.

Murray didn’t fully comprehend what all the fuss was about.

“I showed up, and they told me to put my hand down, told me to stand here, stand there and that’s what I did,” Murray said.

“Then everybody made a big deal about it. … We can put a lot to rest now. That’s fun.”

Going back to the 1960s, there have been shorter quarterbacks, such as former Georgia standout Fran Tarkenton, who was listed at 6-foot.

There was Joe Theismann (6-0) and Doug Flutie (5-10) before Drew Brees (6-0) and Russell Wilson (5-11) came along. Former Florida State standout Charlie Ward, who played at Thomas County Central, was thought to be too small at 6-2 and chose to play NBA basketball in 1992.

But the continued stellar play of Brees and Russell coupled with the flash last season of Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (6-1), teams are moving away from the 6-foot-5 prototypical requirement for the position.

“About five years ago, we still would have flipped out,” Davis said. “Those other guys have paved the way for him to be considered a quarterback first and not another position. We are not really writing that he should go play baseball. We are writing that he should go play football.”

Ohio State quarterback says he showed enough on film in one season as a starter to be a franchise QB at the next level.

Murray, whose father, Kevin Murray, played quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983-86, is projected to be the first player selected in the NFL draft, which will be held April 25-27 in Nashville.

Murray, who turned his back on baseball and the Oakland A’s, and former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins are considered the top two quarterbacks in the draft.

“This kid might be the best quarterback in the draft,” Davis said. “I did hear from a trusted source who polled about 20 teams, it was some where in the neighborhood of 9-9-1 on who was the top quarterback.”

Some compare Murray with Wilson, who also had a baseball background.

“I’ve studied a lot of quarterbacks in the league, but him in particular just because we’re similar in height,” Murray said. “He’s had a lot of success, obviously.

“I’ve gotten to talk to him a couple of times. It’s good to have him in my corner as a resource.

“Obviously, I look up to him. Watching him do it at 5-11 and kind of putting doubters to rest.”

After Murray and Haskins, Missouri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones are considered the next two pro quarterback prospects.

Arizona, despite trading up to select former UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen last year, appear ready to select Murray. New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has been a long-time proponent of Murray’s style and playmaking ability.

“It’s legitimate because we don’t have the same money in our first-round quarterbacks that we used to,” Davis said. “You don’t pay the price the way you used to. The way the Cardinals have been playing and sliding from where they were, if they think he’s better, they have to take him and ride with him.

“You take him and worry about dealing Josh later.”

But the Cardinals traded their 15th overall pick a third- and fifth-round pick to the Raiders to move up to 10th to select Rosen.

“Can you get all of that back?” Davis queried. “The answer is no. You’re not going to get all of that back. If they think Kyler is better, they’ll take him and then worry about dealing Josh and go from there.”

Haskins started one season for the Buckeyes, but was highly productive. He completed 70 percent of his passes for 4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Haskins has his supporters.

“He’s a big-time thrower,” NFL Network analyst Charlie Casserly said. “He can put the ball in tight windows, which is what you have to do in the National Football League. This guy is a smart guy. I really like the upside (with) him.”

Haskins is a more traditional drop-back NFL quarterback at 6-foot-3, with limited mobility.

“The two quarterbacks, Haskins and Murray, are different,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “It will be interesting to see if Washington trades up for Dwayne Haskins. There is a good chance or strong possibility that somebody will move up to the Jets at three and get him.”

Haskins has a tie to the Falcons, who have been out of the quarterback market since drafting Matt Ryan in 2008.

“As far as getting ready for high school games, college games and now the pros, outside of (Shawn Springs), Mohamed Sanu, who plays for the Falcons, Deshaun Watson, those are people that I talk to on a daily basis about getting ready for the pros,” Haskins said.

The New York Giants are acting as if they are disinterested in Haskins.

Nick Fitzgerald rushed for two TDs and threw another to lead Mississippi State.
Nick Fitzgerald rushed for two TDs and threw another to lead Mississippi State.

“It would be two years in a row that they’ve opted away from the quarterback,” Kiper said. “When they said the blueprint was the Chiefs and let him sit for a year.”

Lock is projected as the third quarterback in the draft class.

“The Miami Dolphins have to feel that Drew Lock is a franchise quarterback or else pass on him and you wait until next year,” Kiper said. “If they feel like Drew Lock can be a big-time starting quarterback, then you have to take him at 13. It just gets down to their assessment of Drew Lock.”

There’s another tier of quarterbacks that includes West Virginia’s Will Grier, North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley, Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham, Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson.

“There are a lot of good third- to fifth-round quarterbacks,” Kiper said.

There could be a surprise team in the quarterback market, as Kansas City was in 2017, when they leaped up to take Patrick Mahomes.

“The Chargers are a possibility,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout. “They are still playing with Philip (Rivers), and he’s not getting any younger. … You see all of the changeover taking place in Pittsburgh. It might be time (to look for Ben Roethlisberger’s heir apparent).”

The NFL’s de facto height requirements might become a thing of the past, just like the leather helmet.

“If Kyler comes in and plays like Baker and those guys, that might kind of finish us off on worrying about the height,” Davis said. “It might finally be the end point where we can just say, this kid can play.”

With the advent of more spread offenses and read-option principles in the pro game, more mobile quarterbacks are flourishing.

“He’s coming along at the right time,” Davis said. “... I haven’t talked to him, but I’d love to hear from Doug Flutie right now. I’d love to know what’s going through his head. That’s the ‘old boy, was I born too soon.’”

ExploreVIDEO:  Murray at the combine podium 

Top 10 quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL draft

Here are the top 10 quarterback prospects (with projected round) for the 2019 NFL draft, which is set for April 25-27 in Nashville.

1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma (first round)

2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State (first)

3. Drew Lock, Missouri (first)

4. Daniel Jones, Duke (first/early second)

5. Ryan Finley, N.C. State (third)

6. Will Grier, West Virginia (third/fourth)

7. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn (fourth)

8. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt (fifth)

9. Brett Rypien, Boise State (sixth)

10. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State (sixth)

ExploreCLICK HERE to see how the AJC rated the top quarterbacks in the 2018 draft. 

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