INDIANAPOLIS – If there was any lingering doubt about Kyler Murray’s athletic and professional allegiances, he definitively put them to rest late Friday afternoon.
“I was born to be a football player,” the Oklahoma quarterback said at the Scouting Combine, where he is meeting with prospective teams – including the Giants – about his NFL future.
Murray’s baseball talents are nearly as good as his quarterback skills, and the Oakland A’s are still holding out hope that they can convince their first-round pick to play in the Major Leagues. But Murray is adamant about what he wants to do.
“It’s a final decision,” he said of choosing football over baseball. “I’m ready to go.”
Murray’s future whereabouts remain a mystery, with draft experts predicting he might go anywhere from the first overall pick to the second or third round. More than likely, especially considering the NFL’s never-ending pursuit of big-time passers, he will wind up in the top 10. And perhaps at the top spot overall – even though the Cardinals, who own that pick, drafted Josh Rosen in the first round last year.
Cardinals first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury, who recruited Murray to Texas Tech, said last year Murray should be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He has since softened that stance and said he will stick with Rosen as his No. 1 quarterback. But you never know.
“I think it would be a great deal (to play in Arizona), but I don’t get to pick the players,” he said. “I would be very comfortable, knowing how he operates the offense and how he operates getting to the line of scrimmage. Me and him being together would be nice. It would be fun if I was picked No. 1.”
Another landing spot that would meet with his approval: the Giants, who are in the market for a quarterback and may very well be looking for Eli Manning’s heir apparent in this year’s draft. He’d join the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley.
“OB, Shep, Evan, Saquon, I think me in that system, with those guys, can be very dangerous,” he said. “At the same time, I don’t get to choose where I go. If that was the case, I would love to be in that situation, love to be in New York. At the end of the day, I don’t pick myself.”
Murray’s small stature – he’s just a shade over 5-foot-10 and weighs 205 pounds – has been a matter of debate at the combine and may impact his draft status. Most teams prefer taller quarterbacks, although some shorter throwers – including Drew Brees of the Saints and Russell Wilson of the Seahawks – have succeeded at the NFL level.
Murray is undeterred about his size.
“I’ve always been the smallest guy on the field,” he said. “But I feel I’m the most impactful guy on the field all the time. That’s just the confidence I have in myself. I’ve always had to play at this height. I just go out and play the game I love.”
While Murray’s size is open to question, there’s no debate about his productivity. He earned the Heisman Trophy last year – following in Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s footsteps – with a brilliant individual performance last year.
Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdown passes and rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns in his only season as the Sooners’ starter after transferring from Texas Tech. He already succeeded Mayfield at Oklahoma; now he may be the second straight No. 1 NFL draft choice from Oklahoma.
“That’s my guy,” Murray said of Mayfield. “But I’ve got to do my thing and prove myself at this level. I hope he continues to do his thing, but his success is his success. My success is my success.”