We’ve seen this one before.
I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing at the headline.
Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, drafted with the ninth overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft, is reportedly going to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. I’m not going to go into why I think that’s a very bad idea on Murray’s part, but I will address a seemingly growing sentiment since news outlets started reporting this: that he’ll likely be drafted in the first round.
I don’t think so.
There are two things that are going to prevent Murray from getting his name called on Day 1, and the first one is his size.
If you type in “Kyler Murray height weight” on Google, it’ll tell you that he stands at 5-foot-11, 194 pounds. While his weight is suspect from the start — Russell Wilson is the lightest starting QB in the NFL and weighs 12 more pounds — his height doesn’t look too bad. He’d be taller by an inch than the shortest QB in the league (also Wilson at 5-foot-10), so, while undesirable, it could make do.
That is, if that number is to be believed.
See, Murray’s height is a bit of a controversial subject. The official Oklahoma Sooners athletics page claims Murray is 5-foot-10, as does Wikipedia. With that, he’d be on par with Wilson, putting him in a tie for the league’s shortest QB, and he’d share his height with famed quarterback Doug Flutie. However, since he weighs 194 pounds, being an inch shorter could scare away NFL scouts.
But like a good infomercial, I implore you to wait. There’s more.
In articles on NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated, Kyler Murray’s height is listed as 5-foot-9.
The NFL Combine would likely reveal the truth, but if Kyler Murray truly is 5-foot-9 and weighs 194 pounds, that could disqualify him from being a first rounder alone. He’d be by far the smallest QB in the NFL, and despite being a gifted passer, his risk for injury due to his size could be a very scary prospect for QB-needy teams.
Now, about that elephant in the room.
Once upon a time, there was a Heisman Trophy winner named Charlie Ward. Ward won the Heisman in 1993 for his stellar play at FSU, posting a 69.5 completion percentage, tossing 27 touchdowns and throwing for 3,029 yards, and he holds claim to the third-largest margin of victory in a Heisman vote.
Charlie Ward also liked basketball, and when the time came to move on to the professional sports world, he was undecided. He had been picked in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, and so he publicly announced that he would only consider football if he was drafted in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
He wasn’t, and Ward played basketball. Teams were worried about his size, along with his passion for the NBA. Sam Wyche, the then-head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, explained that “nobody was going to waste a pick on him, because you didn't know if you'd have him.”
Does this all sound familiar?
While Murray hasn’t even declared for the NFL Draft yet, much less publicly stated he’d only consider it if he went on Day 1, the other parallels between his story and Ward’s are rather eerie. Both were considered undersized, both were Heisman Trophy winners and both were enamored with another sport.
Why should this be different?
I’m not saying a team won’t draft Murray. I’m sure a team in the later rounds will take the pick if he declares, just in hopes he wants to leave the diamond behind for good.
But Day 1? Don’t expect Roger Goodell to shake his hand.
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].