Kyler Murray picked football. Now, who is going to pick Murray in the 2019 NFL Draft?
Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma who was selected in the first round of last year's MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics, announced his intentions to pursue a career in the NFL as a quarterback instead of the MLB as an outfielder. That should draw interest from a number of teams at the NFL Scouting Combine, where Murray will be the most anticipated participant later this month.
With that in mind, here are five teams that should pursue Murray, and five that should hold off, in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The teams are in order of where they pick.
MOCK DRAFT 2019:
Kyler Murray not among 3 QBs taken in top 10
Kyler Murray's best fits in NFL Draft
No. 4, No. 24, No. 27
The Raiders need to have something to show for the trades that sent Khalil Mack to Chicago and Amari Cooper to Dallas, and Murray would give coach Jon Gruden some leash with which to work. It’s a stretch to take Murray at No. 4 given the pass-rush needs Oakland has without Mack, but those other two picks as part of a package would be easy to put together if Murray falls into the right spot.
Pick: No. 7
This allows the Jaguars to move on from Blake Bortles, who is 24-49 as starter, including a 10-6 rcord in 2017. Bortles struggled with inconsistency last season, and the offense did not evolve. A pairing of Murray and Leonard Fournette would be tough for defensive coordinators, and that is a project worth taking on for new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. We also would not mind seeing Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Marcus Mariota and Murray in the same division.
New coach Zac Taylor can put Murray into an offense that already features Joe Mixon and A.J. Green, which would create some much-needed excitement in Cincinnati. Andy Dalton still has two years left on his contract, and trading the veteran quarterback would be an option. Drafting Murray would allow the Bengals to move further from the Marvin Lewis era, and if it seems too risky, just look at the impact Baker Mayfield made in Cleveland and the one Lamar Jackson made in Baltimore.
This is where SN’s latest mock draft puts Murray, who would offer new coach Brian Flores a reason to move on from Ryan Tannehill. New offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea would have an exciting talent to work with, and the fan base would rally behind a new quarterback. Miami has drafted four first-round quarterbacks in franchise history. Two — Bob Griese and Dan Marino — reached the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This is a tricky one, because it suggests Alex Smith might not be back from his serious leg injury in 2019. Colt McCoy also is under contract, but he won’t get Washington near playoff contention. Murray would give the team a chance to move forward and could learn from both Smith and McCoy in this offense. Hey, Joe Theismann was listed at 6-0.
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Kyler Murray's worst fits in NFL Draft
Pick: No. 1
We're conflicted. The Cards already have a first-round quarterback in Josh Rosen, who made 13 starts as a rookie last year but should benefit from a new offensive philosophy under coach Kliff Kingsbury. That doesn't mean there should not be a conversation around QB with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Kingsbury, however, would be discarding one franchise quarterback for another, and unless Murray blows away the Cardinals at the Combine, then it's better to proceed with Rosen, who at least deserves a turn in the new scheme. Plus, Arizona has more needs than just quarterback, and Nick Bosa can help with that.
New York Giants
Dwayne Haskins makes more sense for the Giants as a first-round quarterback and is a pick Giants GM David Gettleman is more likely to make. Haskins put up record-setting passing numbers at Ohio State, but it wouldn't hurt for him to sit a year behind Eli Manning. The team that drafts Murray is going to be pressured to play him right away. Despite the temptation to put Murray, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. on the field at the same time as soon as possible, Haskins will show why he's the better pick after some time.
Pick: No. 8
Murray is not a better option than Matthew Stafford, who has not declined enough (maybe even at all) to warrant this type of decision. The Lions fell to 25th in the NFL in scoring offense last year, but that was more a product of a ground attack that generated just 11 rushing touchdowns. Detroit has needs in other places, and it can find an elite pass-rusher or help the secondary with this pick. Quarterback would be a reach.
Pick: No. 10
The Broncos are the last team with a top-10 pick, and they are in the market for a quarterback who can get the franchise back on track after back-to-back losing seasons. Drew Lock is the popular Denver first-round pick in mock drafts, as GM John Elway reportedly is a huge fan of the Missouri quarterback. Lock makes more sense than Murray for the Broncos.
New England Patriots
We speculate about this every year, and the Patriots always pass on a first-round quarterback; they haven't drafted one since Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Taking Murray at No. 32 this year would place undue speculation on Tom Brady's retirement. With that said, if the Patriots want to draft Murray and trade him for more picks — they already have two second-rounders — they could position themselves for a QB in the next few drafts, after Brady actually does retire. (Trevor Lawrence, anyone?) Don't be surprised if Bill Belichick has that kind of scheme in mind.