All season long, as former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray flirted with the idea of trading in a professional baseball career for continuing his love for football at the next level, the biggest rub against his prospects for future success as an NFL QB was his serious height disadvantage.
There also have been concerns voiced about his lean stature by NFL standards. His weight is officially listed in the Oklahoma Football Media Guide as 195 pounds, but to be honest that was probably a stretch. His 5-foot, 10-inch height, however, is not an exaggerated number.
And now the debate can begin — or some would say continue — in earnest over whether the reigning Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma is too small to play quarterback and, therefore, too risky to take as a high draft pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Murray’s weigh-in and height numbers took center stage at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday. Entering the NFL Draft in late April, the highly regarded NFL prospect will be officially listed at 5-foot, 10 1/8 inches tall and a bulkier 207 pounds.
The former Sooner quarterback, who left Texas A&M after his freshman season in 2013 and transferred to Oklahoma, has been a winner at every level of football he has experienced so far, and he is out to prove to his critics that height will not stand in the way of his ability to continue to make an impact and help his team win in the NFL.
Murray has lost only three games as a starting signal caller going all the way back through his high school days, and two of those were while he was at OU (the other at Texas A&M).
The physical measurements of the other NFL quarterback prospects participating in the Scouting Combine are more representative of the prototypical NFL quarterback size characteristics (for example, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State stands over 6-foot, 3 inches and 230 pounds, and Missouri’s Drew Lock measures nearly 6-foot, 4 inches and weighs in at a reported 221 pounds).
Despite all the emphasis on quarterback size for success in the NFL, recent history has shown that QBs smaller in stature can also have outstanding NFL careers. The New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees was just a tidge of 6-foot and a little over 210 pounds when he took part in the 2001 NFL Combine.
And Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, who led his team to the 2014 Super Bowl championship, was listed at 5-foot, 10 5/8 inches and hit the scales at 204 pounds at the 2012 Combine. Wilson is currently the only NFL starting quarterback under 6 feet.
There are those in key NFL positions who believe that Murray’s other physical attributes, namely his quickness and exceptional speed and his arm strength and elite pass efficiency, will outweigh his size limitations.
Denver Broncos president of football operations, John Elway, told ESPN at the Combine on Thursday:
“We’ve seen guys that have had success (in the NFL) that are not necessarily the prototypes as far as when it comes to height. He’s (Murray) got the ability to be a great player.”
Jon Gruden, head coach of the Oakland Raiders, who have the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, echoes Elway’s thoughts on the matter. He says that height probably isn’t as much of a factor in a quarterback’s success in the NFL as it was years ago.
There is a better than good chance that Murray’s name is going to be called before half of the 30 first-round selections are made in this year’s NFL Draft.
Former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, now the new head coach of the NFL Arizona Cardinals, knows first hand how Murray’s dynamic abilities and athleticism can take over a game. He has been very high on Murray throughout his college career. It just so happens that Arizona has the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Whether the former Oklahoma star will be a success of disappointment in the NFL is yet to be determined. One thing is fairly certain, though. It won’t be for lack of physical skills and ability or determination. And height won’t be an excuse one way or the other.