By Travis Politakis
Kyler Murray, the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner,has officially declared his intention of entering the NFL Draft and pursuing his dream of becoming an NFL quarterback, despite being drafted at number nine overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft.
“Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committed to becoming an NFL quarterback,” Murray tweeted. “Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am a franchise quarterback.”
The Oakland Athletics took Murray with the hope that he would become the next face of the franchise. Murray proved to be a stellar outfieldier, producing a .296 batting average with ten home runs and 47 runs batted in. Oakland knew of Murray’s decision to play college football in 2018 when they drafted him and were on board with his decision.
“I think as a staff, we just felt like Kyler was a unique talent, and it’s something that you come across rarely in what we do,” said A’s scouting director Eric Kubota in an interview with MLB.com. “The risk of football was, in our opinion, outweighed by the upside on the baseball field.”
The A’s were under the impression that once Murray was done with his college career he would come and pursue his baseball dream. He has an open-invite to participate in the Oakland A’s spring training in Mesa Arizona, beginning Feb. 15. It is unlikely Murray will participate, as he is set to partake in the NFL Combine on Feb. 26.
His potential contract is one of the largest reasons why he is sticking with football.Murray relinquished a $3.9 million contract from the Oakland Athletics in his decision to play football. Murray is a definite lock to be a first round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but depending on how high Murray is drafted, he is likely to earn a contract of around $18 million.
The football player does not want to be stuck in the minor leagues, which is another reason why he decided to go towards the NFL rather than the MLB. Depending on what team draft’s Murray, he would have an opportunity to be a starter right away and make a career-defining difference in year one.
Kyler Murray had a stellar year as the quarterback for Oklahoma University in 2018. Murray threw for 5,406 yards and 50 touchdowns with a quarterback rate of 181.3, earning him a Heisman Trophy. This was Oklahoma Universities second Heisman Trophy winner in a row, with Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield winning the award in 2017.
Murray led the Sooners to a College Football Playoff berth with a 12-2 record, eventually losing to Alabama in the Orange Bowl. Murray rushed for 1001 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018, putting him ahead of most NCAA running backs.
It will be very interesting to see who takes the gamble on Kyler Murray in the 2019 NFL Draft. Some experts such as Mel Kiper and Todd McShay believe that Murray will be drafted around pick 11 to a team like the Cincinnati Bengals. One very intriguing prediction is the Arizona Cardinals taking Murray as their number one overall pick.
The Arizona Cardinals recently hired new Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury from Texas Tech University, who is known for coordinating high-powered offensive strategies. Kingsbury is very familiar with Murray and his skill set, and many think that a Kingsbury and Murray system would be able to produce great results in the coming season.
Travis Politakis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org