- Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning QB weighed in at 207 pounds, far more than he’s ever played at, and reportedly won’t take part in any on-field drills in Indianapolis. That will keep the NFL’s talent evaluators guessing about the effect of the added pounds on his performance, just another question surrounding the most intriguing prospect in the 2019 draft.
- Plus, the Jason Witten news in Indy, how the Chiefs are shopping Justin Houston, and more on the Josh Rosen-Cardinals saga.
INDIANAPOLIS — In case you didn’t hear, Kyler Murray stands 5 feet, 10 and one-eighth inches tall and weighs 207 pounds. He has 9-and-a-half-inch hands.
Folks, he made it.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who played the 2018 season at around 190 pounds hit all the measurements he was supposed to Thursday at the NFL scouting combine, but there’s more to it. Reports are that not only will Murray not throw this weekend, but he also won’t do any of the on-field drills, including the 40-yard dash.
If you’re cynical like me, you view Thursday’s developments as such: Murray beefed up to hit a number that would ease worries about his durability. Because he’s never played or run at this weight, and because there’s no evidence he can play or run as well at this weight, he won’t participate in any combine throwing or drills.
Comparisons were made all day to Russell Wilson, who checked into Indianapolis in 2012 weighing 204 pounds. But Wilson played at a listed 210 at Wisconsin and slimmed down to run a faster 40 at the combine. Today he’s listed at 215 and has played as heavy as 225 in the NFL.
The point here is that no personnel member of an NFL team has ever seen Kyler Murray run, throw or play at 200-plus pounds, and none will until his private workouts, which surely will be carefully chosen. Even if he doesn’t run at his pro day (and why would he if he’s going to be 17-plus pounds heavier than what he played at in college?) he’ll probably throw about 60 passes on a script he will have rehearsed multiple times in the weeks leading up.
“I wouldn’t say you’d want to punish a guy for not taking part in that, because everything is so important in the evaluation process. But you also do love the element of, I’m coming out to compete and I’m going to have such a confidence in my skill set,” Rams coach Sean McVay said when asked his thoughts on draft prospects throwing or not. “I don’t think it ever hurts anybody [not to throw], but I think you’d always like to be able to have an added evaluation tool to be able to see guys throw live.”
Murray might be the best quarterback in the draft. He could go No. 1 and few smart football people would be upset about it. But without throwing or running here in Indianapolis, Murray made the combine about making weight and putting together multiple good 15-minute private interview sessions with teams. And that’s all he will have done this week.
Here’s what else we heard at the combine Thursday…
• Panthers coach Ron Rivera said tight end Greg Olsen told him he wants to play in 2019. That quote came about two hours before news broke that Jason Witten was leaving the Monday Night Football booth and returning to the Cowboys. According to reports, Olsen is considering joining either FOX or ESPN if the price and profile of the job is right. Now one of the best jobs in NFL commentating is, theoretically, open. Stay tuned there.
• The Chiefs really want people to know that Justin Houston is on the trading block. A day after NFL Network reported that Kansas City has engaged in trade talks, general manager Brett Veach wouldn’t commit to Houston being a Chief in 2019. It’s unclear if there’s real interest around the league in trading for Houston or if this is the classic value inflation for a player we see every year at the combine.
• The latest in the As The Cardinals Turn saga came Thursday when everything Cardinals-related disappeared from “franchise quarterback” Josh Rosen’s Instagram account. GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury have been playing the bizarre “our quarterback, for now” game this offseason as they hold the No. 1 overall pick. Maybe Rosen is in on the joke and they’re just enjoying the media tripping over themselves as the Cardinals grasp at relevancy. Or maybe this is actually a thing and Rosen isn’t loving the jokes.
Tomorrow: Offensive linemen and running backs kick off the on-field workouts of this year’s combine. Tight ends, quarterbacks and receivers will meet with the media, including Kyler Murray. Defensive linemen and linebackers have just gotten into town and all the defensive backs will be in Indianapolis by the end of the day.
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