Prospect Breakdown: Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray is the most polarizing player in this years NFL Draft. No hyperbole. The public has largely been divided when it comes to Murray and that was before he declared for the NFL. Now, following his declaration to enter the NFL Draft in the spring, the football world is on fire. And it should be. The kid demands the spotlight.
From fighting to be a starter at Texas A&M, to becoming the second QB from Oklahoma to take home the Heisman in the past two years, Murray has made a name for himself. There’s no doubt that he is a hell of a prospect. But his interesting college past and lack of dedication to football have left many wondering just how successful he can be in the NFL. While the verdict may still be out on Murray, I decided to dive in on him and see what I could find.
The Curious Case of Kyler Murray
- School: Oklahoma
- Position: Quarterback
- Height: 5’10
- Weight: 195
- D.O.B: 08/07/1997 (21 years old)
Murray’s road to college glory wasn’t paved with golden bricks of ease. In 2015 he was the backup QB to Kyle Allen at Texas A&M where he had to fight just to see the field. After a short stint with the Aggies, Murray transferred to Oklahoma in 2016. Per NCAA rules, Murray had to sit out for the Sooners 2016 season. In 2017 things didn’t get easier as he was yet again set to be a backup. This time to future 1st overall draft pick Baker Mayfield. Murray saw some playing time behind Mayfield but mostly in relief during blowouts games for the Sooners. However, when Murray did see the field, he showed promise.
Despite the tough road to becoming a starter, Murray finally got his shot in 2018. He led a high powered Sooners offense to a 12-1 record (8-1 in Big 12). “High powered” may even be a bit of an understatement. The Oklahoma offense totaled an average of 570 total yards and 6 total offensive TDs per game in 2018. The only loss they had in the regular season was to Texas in the Red River showdown. Months later Murray went on to beat the same Texas team in the Big 12 Championship game. A win which catapulted them into the CFB Playoffs. Unfortunately, Murray and the Sooners had a quick exit as they lost to Alabama in the CFB Playoff semi-finals.
Not exactly the way Murray would have liked to finish his CFB career at OU. However, his personal accomplishments as a player were recognized with the most prestigious award a college athlete can receive – The Heisman. Murray was rewarded with the trophy in December, labeling him the most valuable college football player of 2018.
This was a beauty of a throw from Kyler Murray 💪
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 30, 2018
Kyler Murray’s athleticism is the first thing that pops on tape. He has an incredible ability to escape the pocket and use his athletic ability to extend plays – Something he does often. Smooth footwork allows him to move throughout the pocket with ease even with defenders closing in on him. The combination of both allows him to completely abandoned a play and rely on his athleticism to pick up large chunks on the ground- something else he does often.
Another noticeable attribute on tape is Murray’s pocket awareness. He rarely gets caught behind the LOS without picking up something albeit a short dump off or run. He knows exactly when and how to use his running abilities and rarely waits for the pocket to crumble before he does. Murray can sense incoming pressure very well and is quick to evade at all costs when he does.
Murray possesses elite level mobility as a QB. Whether a designed run or a scramble, he’s quick to plant his foot in the ground and break away from incoming pressure. As soon as Murray tucks the ball he’s able to break to the outside or run straight up the middle, often times with ease. His mobility also allows him to avoid taking big hits in and out of the pocket. Something he will have to do at the next level.
Perhaps his underrated attribute due to his athleticism and mobility is Murray’s arm talent. He creates incredible velocity with his arm and the ball just zips from his hand. He’s very accurate on short and intermediate throws whether in or out of the pocket. Murray has above-average touch and throws with great trajectory.
Previously listed as a weakness, I decided to update this and list it as a strength. With today’s news of Murray fully dedicating himself to being an NFL QB, his draft stock has sky rocketed. His intentions are now clear and teams can focus on his abilities on the field rather than his situation off of it.
Kyler Murray steps into a Anfernee Jennings sack, followed by Christian Miller blowing right by Bobby Evans. Advantage: Bama DL – pic.twitter.com/C5404XAiAr
— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 30, 2018
Murray’s size will likely be the hot topic of the “is he or isn’t he” debate this draft season. Yes, Kyler Murray is small. Both his height and weight will be a big issue for some teams and rightfully so. Murray’s playing style is predicated on his ability to run and move but his frame may cause durability issues at the next level. He benefited from a very good O Line in college that often kept him clean. a luxury he may not have in the NFL.
Murray had a rough time going through his progressions on tape. He often stares down receivers and if they are guarded or not open, he’s quick to tuck and run. often times Murray was afforded a ton of time in the pocket but rarely ever let his eyes get to his 3rd and fourth read. In being inconsistent with his progressions, he can find himself trying to escape the pocket when unneeded. The same logic applies when he tries to get greedy on the ground instead of letting the play fully develop and giving his receivers a chance to get open.
Kyler Murray was incredible from a statistics standpoint in 2018. He threw for 4,361 yards, 40 TDs, and only threw 7 INTs – boasting a 6-to-1 TD to INT ratio for the season. He completed 260 of 377 pass attempts and had a 69% completion percentage. Murray finished the year ranked 1st in adjusted passing yards per play in all of college with 13. He ranked 4th in pass completions, 5th in attempts, and 1st in pass completion percentage in the Big 12. And to top it all off, he finished 1st in total yards with 5,362 and 1st in total TDs with 54 in all of college football.
If that weren’t enough to make your ears perk up, he also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 TDs on 140 rushing attempts. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt on the ground with 37.7% of his total rushing yards coming on scrambles. Perhaps even more impressive is that he had a 27.7% market share of rush attempts and 28.6% of Oklahoma’s rushing yards in 2018. The kid was a game changer on the ground.
From a statistical standpoint, Murray checks all the boxes in terms of production. However, he doesn’t hold a consistent track record of doing this year in and year out (see College Background portion). Regardless, his statistics are eye-popping and deserve more than just a little consideration. He is lights out on the stat sheet.
Kyler Murray is a flat out playmaker. He possesses all the physical abilities that teams will look for in a franchise QB despite being very undersized. He displays elite level mobility, good arm strength, and incredible athleticism on the field. His frame and height will likely be the biggest knock on him coming into the draft and combine and it can’t be stated enough. Although his size presents limitations and injury concerns he has great speed, touch, and accuracy enough to get him to the next level. However, his inability to consistently read the offense and throw from the pocket cannot be overlooked. An RPO/Spread offense looks to be where Murray will best fit in the NFL but he does possess the natural arm talent to be a productive passer if properly developed at the next level.
As always thank you for stopping in and reading my work! You can reach me @JesseReevesFF on Twitter. Stay tuned for my next Prospect Breakdown!