At the NFL Combine: Kyler Murray Remains Talk of Indy Despite Sitting Out Drills

Kyler Murray won't run the 40-yard dash and participate in throwing drills until Oklahoma's Pro Day, but that didn't stop the buzz that the Cardinals may select the QB with the first pick. 
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INDIANAPOLIS—Kyler Murray hung in the background during the on-field workouts on Saturday afternoon, but the Oklahoma QB nonetheless remains the talk of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

Murray kept his sweatsuit on while on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium, choosing to wait to run the 40-yard dash and participate in throwing drills until the Sooners’ Pro Day on March 13. While his group warmed up, he sat on the bench or talked with some of the NFL coaches working on the field, and then hung back as a spectator as the other QBs threw a variety of routes.

Cardinals GM Steve Keim raised eyebrows earlier in the week when he said that Josh Rosen, the former UCLA passer they drafted at No. 10 less than a year ago, is the team’s quarterback “right now, for sure.” Conversations in Indianapolis have only have mushroomed since then about the possibility that Arizona will take Murray first overall and trade Rosen—and what the price tag for Rosen might be.

“Those are small words with big meaning: 'For now,' ” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Saturday evening. “He could put that thing somewhat to bed [by saying], ‘He is not going anywhere; he is our quarterback.’ … You keep asking him, and he’ll tell you the same thing, ‘We are committed to him 100%, period.’ He didn’t really go there.”

Jeremiah said he would be inclined to stick with Rosen and take Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa, the top-rated player on his board, with the No. 1 pick. Bosa unsurprisingly agrees, telling reporters at his press conference on Saturday that the Cardinals would be making a “big mistake” if they pass on him. But Jeremiah also gave credence to going the other direction, noting that Murray’s unique skillset is a perfect match for new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and that Murray’s ability to escape and create plays would allow him to mask the Cardinals’ protection issues upfront in a way that Rosen cannot.

The other top quarterback in this year’s class, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, did compete in the on-field workouts on Saturday. He missed a couple short out routes during the throwing session, but looked good slinging go routes that had a lot of air under the football and had nice accuracy on the post-corner routes that were his last few throws. Jeremiah assessed Haskins’s performance as “solid”—a reminder that this year’s QB class is not as strong as in 2018, when five were taken in the first round.

“Last year, Baker [Mayfield] at this thing threw it really, really well,” Jeremiah said. “It was a solid throwing session, but it wasn’t anything that blew you away.”

Haskins ran the 40-yard dash in 5.04 seconds, which was not unexpected, but stands in contrast to the influx of young mobile QBs into the league who are able to use their speed to counteract the protection issues that besiege many teams with high picks in the draft. On the other hand, Haskins has been the clear winner in the chalkboard sessions during formal team interviews, impressing teams with his excellent football knowledge and recall. Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham was perhaps the QB who helped himself the most on the field Saturday, with Jeremiah noting that he threw “as well or better than anyone today.”

On the receiving end of the quarterbacks’ throws was an intriguing class of receivers, including seven who ran sub-4.4 40-yard dashes. Ohio State’s Parris Campbell and Massachusetts’s Andy Isabella led the pack, clocking in at 4.31 seconds. And D.K. Metcalf, the Ole Miss receiver whom Jon Gruden likened to Jim Brown and who reportedly has less than 2% body fat, became an even bigger star on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 228-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing -ast 4.33 seconds, which as you can expect, resulted in many googly eyes around the league. Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry also stood out, making some tricky catches that showed his excellent ball skills.