Athletics

NFL rumors: Scouts say Kyler Murray a second- or third-round draft pick

NFL rumors: Scouts say Kyler Murray a second- or third-round draft pick

Now that Kyler Murray has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, we can start projecting where he might be picked.

Several mock drafts have Murray slated to go in the first round, but now, a different projection is emerging.

According to the NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, NFL scouts he has talked to have Murray going slightly lower.

"Perhaps now Kyler Murray will get some opinions on where he goes," Rapoport said. "Based on the scouts I've talked to, they project a second- or third-rounder, and complicating things is his height. He is very short, five-foot-nine, probably. And athletically, he's unbelievable. Everyone saw the kind of job he did in helping him win the Heisman Trophy this year. But it's been difficult for these guys I've talked to evaluate him because there just aren't a lot of examples of a five-foot-nine quarterback trying to do what he does."

Taken with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft in June, Murray got a $4.66 million signing bonus from the A's. If Murray is a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, his signing bonus would likely exceed what the A's paid him. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was the No. 32 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and received a $4.968 million from the Baltimore Ravens.

If Murray were to fall to the second round, he'd receive considerably less than the $4.66 million the A's gave him. The first pick of the second round in 2018 got a $3.584 million signing bonus, while the last pick of the third round got $761,516, according to Spotrac.com.

So, if what Rapoport is hearing is true, then this gamble by Murray wouldn't pay off -- at least from a monetary perspective.

A's top prospect ranking: Why Lazaro Armenteros comes in at No. 8 overall

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A's top prospect ranking: Why Lazaro Armenteros comes in at No. 8 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 8 - Lazaro Armenteros, OF

Back in 2016, the A's signed a 17-year-old Armenteros to a $3 million bonus. Clearly, they thought very highly of the Cuba native's natural ability and they still do.

Scouts have compared "Lazarito" to all-time greats like Bo Jackson and Willie Mays. Obviously, that's quite a lot to live up to, but you get an idea of the talent level.

Now 20 years old, Armenteros tallied 17 home runs, 22 doubles, 61 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 126 games at High-A Stockton this season. He ranked third in the California League with 73 walks, but also struck out 227 times, 50 more than anyone else in the league. That contributed to an odd slash line of .222/.336/.403.

"Right now, he's a three-outcome guy," A's assistant general manager/director of player personnel Billy Owens told NBC Sports California earlier this year. "The ability is there. He's probably one of the fastest guys in the whole California League as well. His body is phenomenal, the speed quotient is there, and the raw power is ridiculous. It's just a matter of him getting at-bats."

MLB Pipeline gives Armenteros an above-average rating for power and speed, which means he could develop into a dangerous all-around hitter.

"I think so many different things that Laz can do on the field will jump out you, whether it's running down the line to first, a diving catch in the outfield, or leading the Cal League in homers at one point," A's general manager David Forst said. "There's so much talent there. It's a matter of a young guy like that putting it all together."

Clearly, Armenteros still is extremely raw. He has to significantly reduce his strikeout rate and refine his approach at the plate. But his upside is through the roof.

[RELATED: Why Beck is A's No. 9 prospect]

Armenteros likely will spend the 2020 season at either Stockton or Double-A Midland, or possibly a combination of the two. He doesn't figure to be a realistic major league option until at least 2022 when he would be 23 years old.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Armenteros will develop into a prolific player for the A's, but the tools are certainly there.

A's top prospect ranking: Why Austin Beck comes in at No. 9 overall

A's top prospect ranking: Why Austin Beck comes in at No. 9 overall

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine the top 10 prospects in the A's organization. For each player, we will provide a scouting report and a realistic timetable for reaching the major leagues, as well as what he needs to do to stay there.

No. 9 - Austin Beck, OF

The A's remain very high on Beck, and why shouldn't they? Oakland drafted the outfielder No. 6 overall out of high school in 2017 and he has shown flashes of his potential already.

Beck is still just 20 years old and coming off a solid season at High-A Stockton. In 85 games, he slashed .251/.302/.411 with eight home runs, 22 doubles, and 49 RBI. The previous year, he posted an even better .296/.335/.383 slash line at Class-A Beloit as a 19-year-old.

"He's got the ability to make contact to all fields," A's assistant general manager/director of player personnel Billy Owens told NBC Sports California earlier this year. "He's got power that's going to come to prominence as he rises through the organization and gets to the higher levels."

Beck has also displayed terrific defensive ability, both in center and right field. MLB Pipeline rates him as a strong fielder and thrower of the baseball, with above-average speed as well.

Said Owens: "He definitely can defend center field, he's got a powerful throwing arm, he's got a swing that can manipulate the baseball and go to all fields, and the raw power is definitely in there. So he's got a chance to be a five-tool player."

Beck will likely spend the majority of the 2020 season at Double-A Midland. If he performs well there, he figures to get a shot at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2021 and could potentially make his major league debut late that year, or in 2022.

[RELATED: A's prospect rankings: No. 10 -- Nick Allen]

For the moment, the A's have a lot of depth in the outfield, but that could certainly change by the time Beck is ready for the big leagues. Mark Canha is set to become a free agent after the 2020 season, while Chad Pinder is already entering his arbitration years.

If Beck can continue to develop his power stroke, while simultaneously improving his all-around approach at the plate, his natural speed and athleticism should put him in position to become an impact player for the A's in the not too distant future.