Draft Breakdown: Kyler Murray

By Adam L'Heureux |
Draft Breakdown: Kyler Murray

Measurables: 5'10" 207 Lbs.

Career Stats:

Passing Table
        Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass Pass
Year School Class G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
*2015 Texas A&M FR 8 72 121 59.5 686 5.7 3.9 5 7 109.2
*2017 Oklahoma SO 7 18 21 85.7 359 17.1 20.0 3 0 276.5
*2018 Oklahoma JR 14 260 377 69.0 4361 11.6 13.0 42 7 199.2
Career Overall     350 519 67.4 5406 10.4 11.1 50 14 181.3
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2019.

 

Overview

Kyler Murray is the most polarizing prospect in the draft. Following him for the last year has been a wild ride. First, he was drafted to the MLB and it seemed that he would play out one last season at Oklahoma before moving on to baseball. Then, his incredible Heisman winning season happened. Finally, he declared for the NFL Draft in January. Beyond the "MLB or NFL" story line, there's the fact that Lincoln Riley is considered one of the best offensive coaches in college football. Many will wonder if he's the real deal or if he's the product of Riley's system. To this end, it doesn't help that he performed fairly poorly at Texas A&M. Then, finally, there's the issue of his size. Can he hold up at the next level? Can he see over an NFL offensive line? These are the questions that both fans and talent evaluators will be asking all off-season.

 

Weaknesses

  • Overreacts to mild pressure

    • On this play, Murray is able to make the first man miss. After he's on the ground, the pocket is relatively clean. But Murray is still in panic mode. He hurries to get the ball out, and it leads to one of his few interceptions last season.

    • This could be filed away under either him overreacting to pressure or him having too much faith in his arm. Regardless of which one it is, it will be a problem at the NFL level if he keeps it up. It seems to me that he throws as soon as the Kansas defensive lineman breaks free, but he could simply think that he can fit the ball in between three defenders.
  • Outstanding supporting cast

    • While Kyler Murray does a fantastic job of selling the fake on this play, it's hard not to notice that he's being assisted by coach Lincoln Riley's system. Lincoln Riley is one of the best offensive minds in college football. This doesn't necessarily hurt Murray, but it allows for one to question whether his production is a result of his talent or Riley's scheme.

    • It's not Murray's fault that he had an outstanding supporting cast, but it can be hard to determine who really made the play at times. On this play, however, it's pretty clear that the long touchdown was the doing of Marquise Brown. When forced to move around the pocket, he doesn't always re-set his feet

    • I don't see this as a huge issue, as Murray is one of the best prospects I've ever watched when it comes to maintaining accuracy on the run. Once the windows get smaller in the pros, however, he's going to need to learn to set his feet more often. This goes hand in hand with him not stepping up in the pocket. On this play, I feel that Murray could have thrown a better pass had he re-set his feet or simply stepped up into the pocket once escaping the initial pressure.
  • Doesn't step up in the pocket

    • This throw isn't awful, but if he steps up to the left into the pocket he'd have time to look for a more open receiver. I do love his velocity fitting this ball in, though. This is a poor decision but he still almost completes it against possibly the most talented defense in college football.
  • Size

    • This is one of the things that absolutely terrifies people regarding Kyler's height. There is a worry that he will be swatted, or that he won't be able to see over the line. As for the former, he didn't get swatted very often. That being said, we all know the state of Big 12 defenses. He got swatted against Alabama, the closest thing to an NFL defense there is in the NCAA.
  • Once or twice a game he will throw it into double or sometimes even triple coverage

    • He really trusts his arm. I love that confidence, and his arm is deserving of trust, but he can't be throwing into triple coverage in the NFL. There is, admittedly, a spot where this ball is completable towards the sideline but Murray overthrows his mark. He doesn't throw many 50/50 balls, but he does throw a lot of 60/40 passes.

 

Strengths

  • Athleticism

    • We probably won't be seeing plays like this in the NFL, but it does show the type of athlete he is. I have a strong feeling that stopping Murray on third and short will be a tough task for defenses.
  • For the most part he makes good reads

    • For some reason there's this idea that gets passed around that he doesn't go through his progressions. This is, in part, due to Lincoln Riley's system. Murray doesn't have to go through his progressions all the time because often his first read is open. He has great receivers and an outstanding coach, that makes it a bit easy on him as previously mentioned. That being said, when he is forced to go through his progressions he is more than capable of going through them quickly and making a good decision.
  • Does well under pressure

    • Despite sometimes overreacting to mild pressure, when there's a guy in his face he excels. Here, he accurately gets the ball out right before getting hit. Might I add, the timing on this throw is fantastic. The ball arrives almost right after the receiver turns around.
  • Great accuracy to all areas of the field

    • Remember when I said that his arm was worth trusting? Well, this is why. He's the type of player that can fit a ball into tight coverage fairly consistently. Despite there being two Alabama players in the vicinity of the receiver, Murray throws a ball only his guy can get.

    • This is another play that may seem like he's just chucking it but is really a beautiful pass. His receiver gets the outside, the side of the corner closer to the sideline, and Murray throws it where only his receiver can get it. Alabama's corner would have to go through the Oklahoma receiver to get to the ball. He does this on fourth and two, by the way.

    • Marquise Brown ends up dropping the ball on this play, but Murray throws a picture perfect pass about 50 yards here. The Texas corner's coverage isn't awful, but Murray's range combined with his accuracy going down the field means that he's not safe with a receiver behind him anywhere on the field.
  • Fantastic arm, he can make every throw

    • Murray has a strong arm to pair with his excellent deep accuracy. On this play, the ball is in the air from Oklahoma's own 20 yard line all the way to the opposing 30 yard line. Size has almost nothing to do with arm strength, it's mostly technique. And Murray's technique is great.
  • Excellent production his senior season
    • There's a reason Kyler Murray won the Heisman last season. His production was outstanding, especially paired with his lack of interceptions. There's not much to say, as his full stat line is at the top of the page.
  • Throwing technique is fantastic

    • As seen here, his technique is great. Many prospects technique needs to be worked on once they make it to the pros, but he is not one of them. He uses his legs to generate power, twists his torso, and follows through with his arm. His full body is involved in the throw and that's exactly what I want to see from a quarterback prospect.
  • Normally keeps his eyes down field even while moving outside the pocket

    • There are plays where Kyler does look to run, and that's worth mentioning, but more often than not he's a passer first. Despite pressure from about four different Oklahoma State players here, he keeps his eyes down field and delivers a deep strike.

    • On this play, he probably has a chance to run. Not only that, a lot of quarterbacks would throw it away and live to fight on third and nine in this situation. Murray is not one of those quarterbacks, and despite immense pressure he keeps looking for a receiver and eventually finds one.
  • Does a fantastic job of avoiding hits

    • This is another reason I'm not too worried about his lack of size. He's great at sliding or getting out of bounds once there's no where to run. People are worried about him being able to take hits at the next level, but he doesn't get hit enough for it to be a big issue to me.

    • Once again, he doesn't take more yards than he needs. He gets the first down, and goes out of bounds. Murray doesn't get enough credit for how aware he is of the first down marker.

    • I'm really hammering this point home, but I just love his ability to get the first down then get down. Here, it even seems as if he looks for the first down marker before he goes down just to double check that he has it. He doesn't want to get hit, but he's still making plays before he goes down.
  • He's incredibly competitive

    • Down multiple scores against Alabama, Kyler Murray is still doing everything he can to win. He doesn't get the call here, but most quarterbacks would have given up on the play as soon as the pass rusher got in their face. He does everything in his power to get away, and even if his knee is down the effort is impressive to me.

    • Murray's last play as a Sooner was a touchdown. I think that shows how competitive he is as well. Down a lot to one of the best college football programs ever, he played hard to the very end and with Oklahoma's defense that's all I can ask from him.

Conclusion

  • Final Thoughts: Kyler Murray seems to get a bad rep due to Oklahoma's system, his size, and his supporting cast. People will call him a runner and say that he doesn't go through progressions, but I don't think that's true. For the most part he keeps his eyes down field even when the pocket breaks down. The majority of his runs are on designed plays. Lincoln Riley called variations of the quarterback draw often and read option often, but it seems that people think that's Murray's choice. He is a thrower that can run. His size can be seen as an issue, but he does everything in his power to minimize his size's impact on his play. Sure, he benefited from an outstanding supporting cast on offense, but Oklahoma's defense left a lot to be desired. Nearly every game he was forced into a shootout, and nearly every game he delivered. I think that Kyler Murray is both the best runner and the best thrower in this draft class.
  • Grade: Top 10 pick.
  • Pro Comparison: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

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