INDIANAPOLIS — In the measurement heard around the NFL world, or at least all around the NFL’s scouting combine in a matter of minutes, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray was 5-foot-10 1/8 inches tall and weighed in at 207 pounds.
The Heisman Trophy winner’s physical dimensions have been one the hottest topics of discussion in and around the annual gathering for the NFL draft’s top prospects. Murray’s combination of high-end performance in the passing game, his electric running style and overall athleticism make him one of the most intriguing prospects for a quarterback-starved league.
His height would also make him one of the shortest starting quarterbacks in the league’s history.
Two of the quarterbacks Murray’s potential future, in terms of size, have been compared to are Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees and Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson. Brees was 6-0 ¼ and 213 pounds at the 2001 scouting combine while Wilson was 5-10 5/8 and 204 pounds at the 2012 scouting combine. Wilson is the only starting QB in the NFL under 6-feet tall.
Other quarterbacks at the combine were more prototypical size. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins measured 6-3 3/8, 231 pounds. Missouri’s Drew Lock was 6-3 6/8, 228, and Duke’s Daniel Jones was 6-5 1/8, 221.
Wednesday at the combine Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway said he believed Murray had the ability to be a “great player” in the NFL.
“He’s a great athlete and has had a great career,” Elway said. “The one year he played at Oklahoma was great there and shows he’s a great athlete. Obviously, the size is always the question, but we’ve seen guys that have had success in the league that are not necessarily the prototypes as far as when it comes to height. He’s got the ability to be a great player.”
In his one full season as a starter at Oklahoma, Murray finished with 4,361 yards passing with 42 touchdowns to go with 1,001 yards rushing with 12 touchdowns. Murray threw just seven interceptions on the season — and averaged 7.2 yards per carry.
Murray has said he is committed to football even though he has a contract with the Oakland Athletics that includes a $4.66 million signing bonus. The A’s selected Murray with the ninth pick in the 2018 MLB draft.
“I think (height) has been proven to not be as much of a factor maybe as it was years ago,” said Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden Thursday morning. Gruden added he didn’t know if height had a “true impact” on “the position for the performance” of a quarterback. Oakland has the fourth pick in the draft.
Elway did add Murray’s height, or any quarterback’s height, could be an issue if the quarterback was asked to play under center a great deal instead of being in the shotgun. So that any team that would select Murray, or a player like him, in the draft would have to consider putting him in the shotgun all, or most, of the time.
“I will say this, having played the position: when you’re shorter and you’re in shotgun, it doesn’t have nearly the effect because you see much better out of shotgun,” Elway said. “So, if you’re in shotgun and starting in shotgun and that’s the only place you’ve ever been, you can see the field much better from shotgun. So, really, the height from shotgun doesn’t matter nearly as much if it does if you’re coming out from underneath center all the time because by the time you get back there the pocket a lot of times is caving on you. That’s where height does matter a little bit more. But if you’re playing in shotgun every down like a lot of these guys, then the height, to me, does not have nearly the impact that it normally would if you’re coming out from underneath.”
Murray is not expected to throw during his time at the combine, but there has been no confirmation from his camp. He is expected to throw at Oklahoma’s pro day.