A year ago, there was no question that Kyler Murray would play baseball. A first-round pick of the Oakland Athletics organization, Murray got a one-year reprieve to play college football at the University of Oklahoma, but there was no real NFL prospect there.
After all, Murray was only 5-foot-9 and 185 lbs. He couldn't play pro football.
What a difference a year makes.
After setting the college football world ablaze with the Sooners and winning the Heisman Trophy, the NFL buzz started to get very serious around Murray. He hedged his bets about his future, including a famously awkward interview with Dan Patrick during Super Bowl week, where he didn't sound prepared to commit to either football or baseball.
That changed last week when Murray made clear he will attend the NFL Scouting Combine in late February in Indianapolis. And that meant Murray would miss the beginning of MLB Spring Training to prepare for the combine, a sure sign that he had picked football for his future.
Any remaining doubts got erased Monday when Murray made crystal clear his intent.
Murray's statement settles the debate; he's going to be a football player. Now the hype for his NFL Draft status will hit overdrive.
Last week, Charley Casserly said that Murray is a better draft prospect coming out than Robert Griffin III was in 2012. Not to be outdone, ESPN's Todd McShay called Murray the most explosive quarterback prospect to hit the NFL Draft since Michael Vick.
Serious praise, and that's before the onslaught of impressive performances likely to come in Indy and at his Oklahoma pro day.
The move will initially hit Murray in the wallet too. Oakland already paid some of his draft bonus, and that money will get sent back.
Kyler Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year. He forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2019
As much as some corners of the NFL will question if Murray can make it as a passer with such a small frame, there is zero doubt here he will be a first-round pick. The only real question is how high will he go, and what quarterbacks go before him.
The scenario for the Redskins is quite complicated. Washington needs a passer, but with significant money remaining on Alex Smith's contract, 2019 might not be the best time to make a first-round QB selection.
Watching Murray throughout the college football season was a lot of fun. He's lightning quick and every snap seemed capable of a big play TD.
And by deciding to go all in on his NFL future, the 2019 NFL Draft just got a lot more fun too.
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