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.

Stephen Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor, despite power-bat surroundings

Stephen Piscotty proving he's A's X-factor, despite power-bat surroundings

While sluggers like Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson garner most of the attention in the A's lineup, manager Bob Melvin has often said that Stephen Piscotty is truly the X-factor.

After a somewhat pedestrian start to the season, Piscotty is beginning to heat up, and that is great news for the A's. The 28-year-old went 2-for-4 with three RBI on Sunday in Detroit, including the go-ahead two-run double in the seventh inning to give Oakland a 5-3 lead in a game suspended by rain.

Piscotty has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive games and has gone 8-for-18 with three doubles and four walks in his last five contests.

"I feel like, while I'm not at my best, I've still been able to operate and have some good at-bats," Piscotty told reporters Sunday. "Still a little bit of work to go, but I'm seeing the ball well. I was able to get a couple of walks the other day. That's big for me. That's a good sign that I'm seeing the ball well."

When Piscotty is at his best, he adds much-needed length to the Oakland lineup. He can be a serious power threat in the fifth or sixth spot in the order, as he showed last year, belting a career-high 27 home runs, 41 doubles, and 88 RBI.

For the season, Piscotty is now slashing .263/.337/.409 with five homers and 22 RBI. Last year, he got off to an even slower start than he did this season, hitting just .227/.286/.349 through the month of May.

Piscotty caught fire midway through the season and that's when the A's really took off last year. He amassed 24 home runs from June through September, ranking near the top of the league. If Piscotty can pick up the power in a similar way this year, the A's will take their production to another level.

[RELATED: A's starting pitching beginning to turn around]

To really understand Piscotty's value in the lineup, just look his offensive numbers in wins versus losses. In A's victories this season, Piscotty is slashing .337/.383/.523. That line falls to .188/.291/.292 in Oakland's defeats.

The A's hope Piscotty's recent success marks the start of an extended hot streak into the All-Star break and beyond. His bat makes Oakland's lineup nearly impossible for pitchers to navigate, with dangerous hitters lurking from top to bottom.
 

A's vs. Tigers lineups: Khris Davis returns in series finale at Comerica

A's vs. Tigers lineups: Khris Davis returns in series finale at Comerica

Entering the series against the Detroit Tigers, the A's were looking for something to jump-start them and they found a team they've owned of late.

After Saturday's 4-1 win at Comerica Park, Oakland now has won 15 straight games against the Tigers and they'll go for the sweep Sunday behind right-hander Mike Fiers. 

Bob Melvin gets an important member of his lineup back for the afternoon series finale, too. Khris Davis, who missed Saturday's game to rest a hip ailment, is back in Sunday's lineup. He will bat cleanup and be the designated hitter.

Here are the lineups for Sunday's game between the A's and Tigers. Coverage starts at 9:30 a.m. on NBC Sports California and streaming live on the My Teams app

Oakland Athletics (22-25)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Chad Pinder, LF
Khris Davis, DH
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Matt Olson, 1B
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Ramon Laureano, CF
Josh Phegley, C

Mike Fiers, RHP (3-3, 5.12 ERA)

[RELATED: Is Phegley worthy of All-Star nod?]

Detroit Tigers (18-26)
Niko Goodrum, 1B
Dawel Lugo, 3B
Nicholas Castellanos, RF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Ronny Rodriguez, SS
Christin Stewart, LF
Josh Harrison, 2B
Grayson Greiner, C
JaCoby Jones, CF

Gregory Soto, LHP (0-2, 13.50 ERA)