Imagine for a second that you won the lottery. However, rather than cash in on the ticket, you decide to put it in your back pocket for the next year. Your hopes are that it doesn’t fall out, get lost, or accidentally destroyed in the wash. That’s sort of the situation with Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray.
The Sooner QB was selected in the MLB draft by the Oakland A’s with the 9th overall pick. However, Kyler still plans on playing QB this upcoming fall. Head coach Lincoln Riley said as much in his official statement:
Statement from head coach Lincoln Riley on Kyler Murray: pic.twitter.com/j4Mhl1qgWP
— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) June 5, 2018
Chances of success at football
When Kyler Murray came out of Allen High School in Texas, he was a 5-star recruit that signed with Texas A&M. He was going to be the next superstar QB for the Aggies. However, things didn’t go as planned. He started just 3 games for A&M, completing 59.5% of his passes with only 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Not necessarily set the world on fire numbers. He was benched and ultimately decided to transfer to Oklahoma. When Sooner QB Baker Mayfield was granted another year of eligibility by the Big 12, it meant that Murray would spend another year not starting (after sitting out a year due to transferring). One of a key predictor for success for QBs in the NFL is number of games started in college. That would be a mark against Murray for future success at the next level.
Kyler Murray is 5’10” tall (possibly 5’11”, depending on source) and 190 lbs. In 2017, there was exactly one quarterback starting in the NFL that was less than 6’0″ and that was Russell Wilson. Wilson was measured at 5’11” 204 lbs at the Combine (he’s now in the 215 lbs range). So despite his slight height advantage, he still has quite a bit of weight on Kyler. As for the rest of the NFL starting QBs, they had quite a bit of a height advantage on Murray. 18 of the 32 starting QBs were 6’4″ or taller. In fact, only 3 QBs were 6’1″ or shorter, Russell Wilson being one of them. Combine that with his relatively small build and chances don’t look good for Kyler to be playing on Sunday.
What to do
Clearly the numbers are stacked against Murray to ever play in the NFL. He has a guaranteed contract to play for the A’s for ~ $4.5 million (that’s what the #9 overall pick would be slotted for in the MLB draft). Now, due to a weird team sport NCAA rule, Kyler could technically sign the contract with the A’s and still play football this fall. But that’s sort of like putting that winning lottery ticket in your back pocket. What would be the upside? The worst case downside is a career ending injury, and that would be awful for everyone involved. So as much as it would pain Sooner Nation to lose their starting QB just before season starts, it’s the right move for Kyler Murray. Or he can just hope that he can make it through the year and that lottery ticket doesn’t fall out of his pocket.