The 2019 NFL Draft just got a little more interesting. Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray announced on Twitter that he has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray spent the past weekend negotiating with the Oakland A’s, who selected him in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, but for the time being they have not come to terms on a new deal.
Baseball could remain an option if Murray decides to go back to it, and declaring for the draft does not foreclose it. However, if he thinks he can be a first round pick in April, I would be surprised if he went back to baseball. The A’s are scheduled to report to spring training on February 15th, and the NFL Combine gets going on February 26th. That’s not a drop-dead point, but it does provide the A’s and Murray with one more month to discuss options if either side is so inclined.
If we assume Murray is full-go for the NFL, this could shake up the first round. He’s short for a quarterback, listed at just under 5’10, and that is something teams will pick apart relentlessly between now and the draft. He brings incredible athleticism, rushing for 1,001 yards and throwing for another 4,361 while completing 69 percent of his passes. Prior to the season he was a question mark as a prospect, and while he still faces plenty of questions, he also has a Heisman Trophy under his belt.
Back in October, then Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he would take Murray with the No. 1 pick in the draft if he could. He’s now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. I don’t think Steve Keim will be held to that, but it does make for plenty of speculation between now and late April.
Even if Arizona is not going to actually trade Josh Rosen and draft Kyler Murray, other teams now have another option to consider as they look for their quarterbacks of the future. Dwayne Haskins was viewed by many as the best quarterback in this class. That could still be the case, but Murray will have some teams pausing and considering their options. Maybe they’re more inclined to move up to grab one of them, or maybe teams are more comfortable letting the talent fall a bit rather than giving up a ton of assets.
For now, the Cardinals and 49ers sit atop the draft board waiting to see who might be prepared to come to them with a Godfather offer.