MLB, NFL

NFL execs say Heisman winner Kyler Murray could be a first-round pick

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray may face a tough choice between NFL and MLB after having an extraordinary season in football

Five current or former NFL general managers said they believe Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray could be a first-round pick in the April draft despite being listed at only 5-foot-10.

That could create an interesting situation for Murray, who signed a deal with the Oakland A’s in June after being the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. The A’s gave Murray $4.6 million fully guaranteed to play baseball, but gave him permission to play one more year of college football.

After a spectacular redshirt junior season in which Murray has thrown 40 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and helped Oklahoma reach the college playoff for the national championship in January, Murray’s NFL stock has increased dramatically.  Murray was largely unknown because he was behind previous Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.

Murray’s baseball agent, Scott Boras, told NFL Media that Murray is committed to play baseball, but Murray said recently that he was intrigued by the idea of playing in the NFL. There has also been a significant debate about where Murray could make more money.

All five NFL personnel men said Murray has the physical talent to be a first round pick because he is a “special athlete.” Their reservation was purely based on size.

“He’s a special athlete and wildly versatile,” one NFL GM said. “That might make him a consideration late first.”

Said another GM: “Tough to take a 5-10 QB in round one. Hell of a player. (The team needs) to be committed to him and build (the) offense around him in an unconventional way. Similar to what Baltimore is doing with Lamar (Jackson).”

A top personnel executive said: “Yes, in the right system. Teams will have to commit to that style of play. he is small but a dynamic athlete. He played behind a big offensive line like (Russell) Wilson did at Wisconsin.”

If Murray was to be a first-round pick in the NFL, he would receive a signing bonus of more than $5 million (Jackson received just over $5 million last year as the final pick in the first round last year) and would likely get at least two years to prove that he could play in the NFL. That means he would make close to $6 million overall. In addition, he could make more than $25 or $30 million a year later in his career if he makes it as a quarterback. Even if he’s a backup quarterback, Murray could make $3 or $4 million year later on.

While Murray was a high pick in baseball, his odds of making it to the majors are still long. Murray struck out 59 times in 189 at-bats during his one full season on the Oklahoma baseball team. That strikeout rate his somewhat high for a player at that level, although Murray’s athletic ability projects well for baseball.

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