NFL Draft big boards across the league could see a change this weekend if Oklahoma QB and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray decides to declare.
Murray has until Jan. 14 (Monday) to declare for the Draft, and according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s, the Oakland Athletics — the team that selected him ninth overall in June — expect him to on Sunday.
Murray wouldn’t have to forfeit his $4.66 million signing bonus with the A’s if he declares, but if he ultimately enters the NFL, he would. The 21-year-old could very well declare for the draft to further his time to weigh his options. But with position players reporting to A’s Spring Training on Feb. 15 and the NFL Combine on Feb. 26, that seems to be the window where he will make his decision.
But, if Murray declares, NFL teams will immediately add him to their options. And the Giants will certainly be one of those teams.
It’s no secret the Giants are in the market for an heir apparent to Eli Manning, whether it’s through the draft or free agency. They own the sixth overall pick in the draft, and if there is any quarterback currently declared that is worthy of that pick, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins would be the best bet.
So would the Giants’ draft direction change if Murray were to declare? Without a doubt.
Murray entering the draft officially will likely make him the top quarterback prospect in the class, and the Giants can’t overlook him. He had a phenomenal 14-game season with the Sooners in 2018, throwing for 4,361 yards, 72 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 69 completion percentage.
In today’s NFL, a quarterback that can stand strong in the pocket, and more importantly, extend a play outside it is extremely valuable. Look no further than Murray, whose mobility made him such a hard player for a defense to figure out.
With exceptional speed and elusiveness, Murray can not only extend the play, but make defenders miss in the open field to break out big runs. Add that to his ability to make throws in tight windows in the pocket, and Murray has NFL quarterback written all over him.
However, the biggest knock on Murray is his height – he is listed at 5-foot-10. That may turn off the Giants and other NFL teams, as height is one of those intangibles teams covet.
But has that stopped Murray from dominating almost every team he has come across? Alabama head coach Nick Saban has faced many quarterbacks over his illustrious career, and he admitted after defeating Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff that Murray was the hardest one he had to gameplan for.
Recently-hired Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has shown Murray praise in the past, calling him a “freak.” Owning the first overall pick, Kingsbury may even consider Murray despite Josh Rosen being drafted last year.
“I’ve never seen him have a poor outing – not one,” Kingsbury told 247Sports’ Charles Power back in November. “Which at quarterback, is impossible to do. But he’s done it. I’d take him with the first pick in the draft if I could.”
That may not go over well in Arizona, but for the Giants, Murray isn’t as far-fetched as some may believe. He has the mobility Manning never possessed, and he can make NFL throws and reads in the pocket.
Just think about the last Oklahoma, Heisman-winning, “short” quarterback that declared for the draft. Baker Mayfield was the first overall pick last season, and he is a top candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year while solidifying his spot as the saviour of the Browns’ quarterback position. Murray could follow in his footsteps, and save the Giants’ from the “Quarterback Hell” GM Dave Gettleman fears.
Of course, all of this is hypothetical. But it could be how the Giants are thinking with the news ruffling the feathers of many around the NFL. Murray is an intriguing prospect that could solve a quarterback dilemma for multiple teams, including the Giants.
So expect them to be watching closely on Sunday to see if he makes his declaration.