Athletics

2019 NFL mock draft: A's prospect Kyler Murray a projected first-round pick

2019 NFL mock draft: A's prospect Kyler Murray a projected first-round pick

Kyler Murray officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft on Monday, and recent mock drafts make it easy to see why. 

In a draft that lacks standout signal-callers but has plenty of teams who need quarterbacks, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma is gaining traction as a possible first-round pick. But where exactly is Murray projected to land?

Let's take a look at what Murray's draft future could portend.

The Athletic: Washington, No. 15 overall
What they're saying: "It seems more and more likely that Murray will choose the NFL over MLB, which adds another level of intrigue to the 2019 NFL Draft discussion. The Heisman Trophy winner has an electric skill set with his athleticism and arm talent, but at only 5-9 and 185 pounds, his draft value will be hotly debated by fans, media and NFL evaluators. Murray to Washington would certainly add a jolt of adrenaline to an unsettled quarterback situation."

USA Today Draft Wire: Oakland Raiders, No. 27 overall
What they're saying: "If there’s a team that can afford to take a huge gamble with a first-round pick in this draft, it’s the only one that has three of them. Jon Gruden inherited Derek Carr, and the Raiders have clearly had a flair for the dramatic since he arrived. The only thing that would be more shocking than trading Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper in the same year would be spending a first-round pick on Murray."

CBS Sports: New England Patriots, No. 29 overall
What they're saying: "Bill Belichick has made a career out of staying well ahead of the curve and inventing new ways to manufacture offensive production. Is it time for him to draft Tom Brady's heir apparent? Murray has a lot more pocket passing skills than you'd expect for a small, athletic quarterback."

If the Raiders selected Murray with one of their three first-round picks, A's fans might not have to travel far to see the one that got away -- assuming the Silver and Black find a temporary home in the Bay Area next season before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. Murray himself wouldn't have to travel far, either ... if he had designs on playing two sports and made it to the big leagues before the Raiders moved to Sin City. Of course, if Murray wanted to be the next Deion Sanders, it's worth noting that Washington, D.C. and Foxboro also have MLB teams nearby. 

Despite their concerns surrounding Murray's NFL future, the A's still hope Murray will ultimately report to spring training. 

We'll see what happens when A's camp begins on Feb. 15.

Watch Khris Davis' three-run ninth-inning home run give A's tie in Japan

khrushwalkoffus.jpg
USATSI

Watch Khris Davis' three-run ninth-inning home run give A's tie in Japan

Bob Melvin has seen this before. Even in Japan, Khris Davis is clutch.

With two outs and the A's down 6-3 in the ninth inning, Davis smashed a three-run homer over the left field wall to tie it up at 6-6 at the Tokyo Dome. The exhibition against the Nippon Ham-Fighters prevents extra innings and ended in a tie. 

"I literally said, 'I've seen this happen before,'" A's manager Melvin said to reporters after the game. 

The tie ended the A's exhibition series against the Fighters before their Opening Series games start against the Mariners. Oakland won the first exhibition, 5-1.

Davis was the hero, but Matt Chapman was the A's best player once again in the tie. Chapman went 2-for-2 with a walk, and went 5-for-5 in the two exhibition games. 

[RELATED: Five A's players who were cut but still could make impact]

The A's first run of the game came off in the second inning. Stephen Piscotty smashed a solo shot to left field to give Oakland an early lead. 

Brett Anderson started on the hill where he allowed two unearned runs while striking out four. Shortstop Marcus Semien committed two errors on the day. 

The A's open the regular season against the Mariners in Tokyo on Wednesday morning at 2:35 a.m. PT.

Five A's players who could make impact in 2019 season despite being cut

mengdenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Five A's players who could make impact in 2019 season despite being cut

One of the biggest keys to the A's success last season was their depth, and not just at the major league level. Oakland got significant contributions from several players who started the season in the minors. Names like Lou Trivino, Ramón Laureano, Nick Martini, Mark Canha and countless others played crucial roles after earning call-ups.

The A's hope to receive similar production from their farm system this season. With that in mind, here are five spring training cuts who could make an impact later this year:

Dustin Fowler

Fowler put together a strong spring, batting .293 (12-for-41) with two home runs, four RBI, and two stolen bases. That followed a terrific season in Triple-A last year, where he slashed .341/.364/.520. He will likely be the first outfielder called up this year.

Fowler struggled at the major league level last season but his upside is enormous. Still just 24 years old, he has plenty of time to put it all together in Oakland. With his combination of power and speed and the A's uncertainty in left field, Fowler will likely get another big league opportunity sooner rather than later.

Daniel Mengden

Mengden has already proven he can retire major league hitters. He just has to do it consistently. Last season, the right-hander went 7-6 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, certainly respectable numbers in the American League.

Unfortunately for Mengden, the A's were granted a fourth minor league option and elected to use it in his case. The 26-year-old struggled a bit this spring, but with Oakland's questionable starting rotation, he will almost certainly get another chance in the coming months, or even weeks.

Tanner Anderson

The A's were very high on Anderson when they acquired him from the Pirates this offseason, and they're still high on him now, despite optioning him to Triple-A. The 25-year-old looked extremely sharp this spring, allowing just one earned run in nine innings, with 11 strikeouts.

Anderson has experience both as a starter and reliever, and the A's love his versatility. The right-hander could be a prime option as the second pitcher in "opener" games later in the season.

Jorge Mateo

Mateo has loads of natural ability but is still a bit raw at the plate. Still, the 23-year-old middle infielder is a dynamic talent with top-end speed and could be a tremendous weapon for the A's late in the season.

Mateo slashed just .230/.280/.353 last year in Triple-A but notched a league-leading 16 triples as well as 25 stolen bases. This spring, he went 5-for-18 with a double, triple, and three walks. At the very least, Mateo will be a valuable pinch-runner in September.

[RELATED: Mateo impresses A's in spring training]

Sean Murphy

Murphy is unquestionably the A's catcher of the future. The only question is when that future begins. Oakland appears set for now with Nick Hundley, Josh Phegley, and Chris Herrmann splitting time behind the plate, but Murphy will put pressure on all of them to perform.

MLB Pipeline ranks Murphy as the A's third-best prospect, behind only pitching phenoms Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk. Murphy is already MLB-ready defensively and his offensive production is improving rapidly. If he puts up big numbers in Triple-A, he could earn a promotion sometime this year.