Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook: Could Kyler Murray Be NFL Draft's Top Pick?

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJanuary 11, 2019

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 29:  Kyler Murray #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The University of Oklahoma produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy winners. Could the Big 12 champions have back-to-back No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft?

It's possible with Kyler Murray expected to declare for the NFL draft, as we broke down on B/R's Stick to Football podcast. With Murray choosing football—at least for the time being—how do NFL scouts and players see him fitting into the league?

"Going off talent, yes, he has what it takes to play in the NFL, but I have heard he's super small. Listed at 5'10", which means he might be 5'8". There aren't many players that small," said one area scout. He added, "He's going to be a tough study." Indeed, Murray will be.

Another area scout went into deeper detail: "I've gone back and forth. I'm kind of stubborn and old-school, so I've said hell no for the last two months. But in today's game—in a wide-open offense—he has a chance. I mean, he's been the best player by far at every level he's played at, so I can't be surprised if he's a solid quarterback. His tape is hard to evaluate because it's so many 10-second plays holding the ball. He never sets his feet in the pocket and he's tiny. But in all honesty, I kind of think Baltimore would've been better with him than Lamar [Jackson] this past Sunday."

What makes Murray a tough study is that some teams and schemes will value him. Those clubs that are moving toward a more wide-open offense—with a lot of motion and shotgun formations and a plan to get the ball into space—will like his accuracy, arm talent and amazing athleticism. He might not work in a classic "pro-style" offense because of his height, but those teams aren't the only ones drafting.

Could his talent be enough for the Arizona Cardinals to consider scrapping the Josh Rosen plan and selecting Murray first overall? Absolutely, yes. The feedback on Murray, from over 10 NFL scouts and executives polled, is that he would be a lock as a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury wants to run more of a wide-open offense, and Murray's skill set looks to be a perfect fit.

And that's why he's leaning toward football over baseball.


The Scout's Report

—The Clemson Tigers won a national championship and immediately lost three key players to the 2019 NFL draft. Cornerback Trayvon Mullen, linebacker Tre Lamar and suspended defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence all declared for the draft. Each carries a Round 1 grade heading into the offseason.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. Cle
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

—The hype for Clemson true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was plenty high before he led the Tigers to a beatdown of Alabama in the title game, but now it's astronomical. Said one NFL scouting director: "He's the best freshman I've ever seen. At any position." Lawrence will be NFL draft eligible in 2021.

—Iowa State running back David Montgomery has officially declared for the 2019 draft, and he sits atop my running back rankings. While Montgomery doesn't look to have 4.4 speed, he's a powerful back with soft hands and experience as a route-runner. He projects as a top-50 pick.

—The Iowa Hawkeyes lost their own star player to the draft in safety Amani Hooker. A hybrid in-the-box kind of athlete, Hooker had three interceptions on the year and could fill a Derwin James or Jamal Adams type of role. Unlike those two, he's not expected to be a first-rounder, but he is a Day 2 prospect with NFL starter skills.

—As underclassman declarations come in, keep the name Mecole Hardman in the back of your mind. The Georgia wide receiver has excellent speed and after-the-catch ability. He could shoot up boards to an early Round 2 selection.


The Big Board

It's time to update the big board before a brand new mock draft comes out Tuesday. Here's my most recent top 32:

1. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

2. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

3. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

4. Ed Oliver, DL, Houston

5. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

6. Devin White, LB, LSU

7. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

8. Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State

9. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

10. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

11. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

12. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson

13. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

14. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

15. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

16. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

17. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

18. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

19. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

20. Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

21. Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson

22. Dre'Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

23. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

24. Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

25. Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma

26. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

27. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

28. Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

29. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

30. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

31. Elgton Jenkins, OC, Mississippi State

32. Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion


Parting Shots

6. Stock Up

Texas defensive end Charles Omenihu finished his career as a Longhorn with his best performance in a dominant showing against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. A powerful edge player at 6'6" and 275 pounds, Omenihu can play a true defensive end or slide around the line (like he did against Georgia) to maximize matchups.

Senior Bowl week will be crucial for Omenihu. If he can show the bend and athleticism to match his length and power that scouts crave, he could be a Day 2 selection.


5. Stock Down

Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs disappeared far too often this season, and according to sources on the Crimson Tide staff, he was a player they were ready to see go. Buggs, at 6'5" and 286 pounds, has the right look for a penetrating presence on the defensive line, but he needs to rehab his image and show a higher motor during Senior Bowl week.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 13: Isaiah Buggs #49 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a safety against the Missouri Tigers in the third quarter of the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama won 39-10. (Photo by J
Joe Robbins/Getty Images


4. Sleeper of the Week 

North Dakota State has dominated the FCS level for years with three national titles the last four seasons thanks in large part to quarterback Easton Stick and running back Bruce Anderson.

Stick, who will participate in the East-West Shrine Game, has the accuracy and toughness to have a long NFL career as a QB2. Anderson's power and vision are liked more by scouts, which is why he received a call-up to the Senior Bowl. Both have the look of Day 3 selections who could become impact players in the NFL.


3. The top 24 picks of the first round are set. Here's the current order based on win-loss percentage and strength of schedule:

1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. New York Jets
4. Oakland Raiders
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. New York Giants
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
8. Detroit Lions
9. Buffalo Bills
10. Denver Broncos
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Miami Dolphins
14. Atlanta Falcons
15. Washington Redskins
16. Carolina Panthers
17. Cleveland Browns
18. Minnesota Vikings
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Pittsburgh Steelers
21. Seattle Seahawks
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. Houston Texans
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago) 
25. Philadelphia Eagles*
26. Indianapolis Colts*
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas)*
28. Los Angeles Chargers*
29. New England Patriots*
30. Los Angeles Rams*
31. Kansas City Chiefs*
32. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans)*

* = active playoff teams


2. We're approaching the January 14 deadline for underclassmen to declare, so I've included a list (updated weekly) of players who have declared already:

  • Clifton Duck, CB, Appalachian State
  • Ryan Pulley, CB, Arkansas
  • N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
  • Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn
  • Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
  • Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn
  • Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State
  • Hamp Cheevers, CB, Boston College
  • Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
  • Trysten Hill, DL, Central Florida
  • Dredrick Snelson, WR, Central Florida
  • Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan
  • Xavier Crawford, CB, Central Michigan
  • Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
  • Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
  • Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson
  • Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State
  • Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke
  • Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
  • Maxx Crosby, EDGE, Eastern Michigan
  • Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
  • Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
  • Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida
  • Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida
  • Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
  • Jovon Durante, WR, FAU
  • Devin Singletary, RB, FAU
  • Kerrith Whyte Jr., RB, FAU
  • Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
  • Jeff Allison, LB, Fresno State
  • Mike Bell, S, Fresno State
  • Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia
  • Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia
  • Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia
  • Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
  • John Ursua, WR, Hawaii
  • Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
  • Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
  • Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
  • Anthony Nelson, DL, Iowa
  • Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
  • David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
  • Alex Barnes, RB, Kansas State
  • Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
  • Ed Alexander, DL, LSU
  • Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
  • Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
  • Venzell Boulware, OL, Miami
  • Travis Homer, RB, Miami
  • Joe Jackson, EDGE, Miami
  • Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
  • Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
  • David Long, CB, Michigan
  • Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State
  • A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
  • Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss
  • Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
  • D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
  • Jeffery Simmons, DL, Miss. State
  • Damarea Crockett, RB, Missouri
  • Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, North Carolina
  • William Sweet, OT, North Carolina
  • Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
  • Jakobi Meyers, WR, NC State
  • Sutton Smith, EDGE, Northern Illinois
  • Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State
  • Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
  • Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
  • Dre'Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
  • Michael Jordan, OG, Ohio State
  • Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State
  • Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
  • Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
  • Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma
  • Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
  • Jordan Brailford, EDGE, Oklahoma State
  • Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
  • Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon
  • Ryan Bates, OT, Penn State
  • Kevin Givens, DL, Penn State
  • Connor McGovern, OL, Penn State
  • Shareef Miller, DL, Penn State
  • Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
  • Tyler Roemer, OT, San Diego State
  • Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State
  • JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
  • Nate Herbig, OG, Stanford
  • Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
  • Quart'e Sapp, LB, Tennessee
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas
  • Tyrel Dodson, LB, Texas A&M
  • Erik McCoy, OC, Texas A&M
  • Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M
  • Josiah Tauaefa, LB, UTSA
  • Keenen Brown, TE, Texas State
  • Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech
  • Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo
  • Andre James, OT, UCLA
  • Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
  • Dax Raymond, TE, Utah State
  • Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State
  • Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt
  • Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
  • Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
  • Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
  • James Williams, RB, Washington State
  • David Long, LB, West Virginia
  • David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin


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Matt Miller covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report.


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