Rookie Scouting Report: Quarterback Kyler Murray

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 17, 2019

Kyler Murray’s size isn’t his biggest concern, according to NFL writer Mike Tagliere

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Height: 5’10”
Weight: 207 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Hand Size: 9.5 inches

A few months back, there were many scouts who graded him as a second- or third-round pick. In fact, the advisory committee said the same thing. Now, he’s being considered with the first pick in the draft. He measured in a 5-foot-10 at the NFL Combine, which is still short by NFL standards, but better than some thought, as there were reports that he’d be 5-foot-9. There’s been just one quarterback in NFL history who’s had a successful career under 5-foot-10 and that was Doug Flutie, though even his career wasn’t great. Can Murray overcome the stereotype in today’s NFL? He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics to be a pitcher, but ultimately opted out of his contract with them to enter the NFL Draft.

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If you’re looking for a big sample size, you won’t find that with him. Murray threw just 142 pass attempts prior to the 2018 season. In the 14 games he started in 2018, however, he posted massive numbers. He completed 69.0 percent of his passes while averaging 11.6 yards per attempt with 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, which has many excited about the possibilities at the next level. Combining his big arm with his athleticism could be a lethal combination.

Arm Strength/Throwing Mechanics: 3.5 out of 5 stars
He has a strong enough arm to make all the throws necessary in the NFL. He should work on setting his feet a bit more, as he’ll throw off-platform quite often. He’s not sloppy about it but you’ll see it affect his accuracy at times. If he doesn’t step into the throws that go over 15 yards down the field, the closing speed will be much faster in the NFL. If you watch the game versus West Virginia, you can see him throw 20 yards down the field to his tight end who had five yards of separation on all sides, but he didn’t step into the throw and it was intercepted in the end zone. That window only gets shorter from here. But when all is right and he’s stepping into his throws, his motion and arm strength are definite pluses to his game.

Accuracy: 3.5 out of 5 stars
He underthrew quite a few deep balls to Marquise Brown, though there’s probably a lot of quarterbacks whose arm can’t keep up with or underestimate his speed. He does a good job of putting the deep ball on the receiver’s shoulder where he’s the only one who can get to it. His overall accuracy is good when throwing to a spot on the field, which is why he’ll receive a good grade here, but part of the reason his accuracy percentage was so good was due to him waiting until his receivers gained multiple yards of separation.

Mobility: 4.0 out of 5 stars
We didn’t get to see him run a 40-yard dash, but you can clearly see he’s fast on the field, pulling away from defenders when in the open field. He won’t break tackles as a runner and is more fast than he is quick. You won’t confuse him with Lamar Jackson. He’s more like Russell Wilson as a rusher with more top-end speed.

Pocket Awareness: 2.5 out of 5 stars
He understands his mobility and limitations, which allowed him to move around the pocket in comfort, but he often misses pressure on his backside. He seems to sense the pressure, moves up a tad, but doesn’t get the ball out immediately. There were multiple times I saw this and it led to a sack and/or fumble. His athleticism allows him to escape more often than not, but I wouldn’t say his pocket awareness is anything more than average.

Vision/Decision-Making: 2.0 out of 5 stars
Works his way through his progressions, continually seen him getting to his third read, which speaks volumes for his offensive line. He was able to sit back and direct traffic a lot of the time, something that won’t really test his decision-making. When watching him against Alabama, it’s clear his patience and decision-making were rushed, and it affected his performance while completing a season-low 51.4 percent of his passes. That’s the closest thing he’ll see to an NFL defense. He didn’t throw a touchdown until very late in the third-quarter when they were down 31-13 and the pass-rush wasn’t as intense. Some will give him a plus-grade in this category, but I’m not as confident in his ability when he doesn’t consistently have time to throw.

Anticipation: 1.5 out of 5 stars
This is a big knock on his game, as you don’t see him throwing with much anticipation, but rather waiting until his receiver is open. In the NFL, those windows are going to close much quicker than they did while at Oklahoma. Even on timed curl routes, he’ll wait until the wide receiver has completely flipped his hips before throwing the ball. His processing speed to read a defense is just not good enough right now, especially for someone who’s supposed to start from day one. This is an area of his game that’s severely lacking.

Potential Landing Spot
He’s going to be drafted inside the top-10 whether scouts agree with it or not. It seems like oddsmakers have the Cardinals selecting him at No. 1 overall, though I don’t think that’s going to happen. They have far too many other needs and Nick Bosa, the best player available in the draft, plays the second-most important position on the field. Instead, look for the Raiders, Giants, Dolphins, or Redskins to be the team to land Murray.

NFL Comparison
It’s pretty easy for people to use Russell Wilson as a comparison, though I don’t think Murray is close to that level. Wilson sees and reacts to pressure immediately and throws with great anticipation, while Murray is more of a ‘see it then throw it’ type quarterback. Murray’s mobility is likely even better than Wilson’s, as he offers more speed, but as passers, I’d separate them. It’s tough to find another comparison for Murray due to his size limitations.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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