Possibly the biggest name to enter the 2019 NFL draft will be Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. The story is well known by now: the current Heisman Trophy winner was originally picked by the Oklahoma Athletic’s as the ninth overall selection in the 2018 MLB draft but has elected to go a different route and turn to professional football instead of baseball — a highly debated decision, but one that will nevertheless make him a popular target come April.
While Murray’s NFL outlook is still an uncertain one and will be the subject of plenty of pre-draft speculation, one analyst thinks that the New England Patriots might go after him: NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah released his first mock draft this week and has the Patriots pick Murray in the first round as the eventual successor to Tom Brady:
Murray is the ultimate wild card in this draft. The Patriots need to find the heir apparent to Tom Brady and Murray could contribute while Brady is still playing.
Murray certainly is an interesting but polarizing prospect. At 5’9, he is undersized when compared to conventional quarterbacks but he has shown time at again at Oklahoma that he can be successful both as a pocket passer and and a ball carrier. His 2018 statistics illustrate that: Murray completed 69.0% of his pass attempts for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and 7 interceptions while also carrying the football 140 times for 1,001 yards and 12 scores.
“Kyler Murray is a fascinating NFL Draft prospect,” says The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs about the redshirt junior. “His size presents limitations to consistently see intermediate breaks in the [middle of the field] and will pose an injury concern in the NFL. Murray has speed, escapability, a powerful throwing arm and enough general accuracy to allow gifted catch point receivers to adjust and ensure the catch.”
Despite his strengths, however, he will likely not be a perfect quarterback for every team. “Murray is not a one size fits all prospect but in an offensive utilizing RPO/spread concepts, he can be an explosive weapon and effective starting QB,” continued Crabbs. Whether or not he will get this chance in New England remains to be seen, but he certainly is an interesting prospect to look at and imagine in the Patriots’ system.
At the end of the day, however, it would still be surprising to see the team go with Murray in the first round. Not only is his size different from what the team is generally targeting at the quarterback position, it would likely also have to adapt its offense quite a bit to take advantage of Murray’s athleticism and improvisational skills. Given that the Patriots will still have Tom Brady for at least one more year, seeing the team go with a non-traditional pocket passer to back him up would therefore be unexpected — especially in the first round.