NFL Combine 2019: Most Notable Measurements from Thursday in Indianapolis

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2019

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during an NCAA college football game between Army and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The start of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday led to one of the most significant developments for April's draft. 

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray finally stepped up to settle, once and for all, any questions about his height and weight. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner checked in at 5'10⅛", 207 pounds and had 9½" hands. 

Prior to the scouting combine, questions persisted about Murray's height and what it might mean for his draft stock. 

"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," one area scout told B/R's Matt Miller last month. "He's going to be a tough study."

Since Murray is slightly taller than 5'10", it would be a reasonable expectation to hear his name called early when the 2019 NFL draft begins on April 25. 

Even before Murray measured in, Miller had the 21-year-old going No. 1 overall to the Arizona Cardinals in his most recent mock draft. 

Challenging Murray for the top quarterback in this year's class is Dwayne Haskins. The Ohio State star looked more like the traditional prototype scouts have looked for, though he certainly wasn't alone in that regard:

Any thought that smaller quarterbacks can't succeed in the NFL should have been put to rest more than a decade ago when Drew Brees became a superstar. Russell Wilson has helped further that evolution, going from an unheralded third-round pick in 2012 to one of the best players in the league. 

When push comes to shove, though, there are still some prominent NFL people who believe quarterback size is important. New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told reporters on Wednesday the NFL is a "big man's game."

The Giants could be in the market for a long-term answer at quarterback, with Eli Manning expected to return in 2019. Haskins fits Gettleman's "big-man" prototype if the team wants to draft him, either at their current spot (No. 6 overall) or by moving up in a trade.

Branching out from the quarterbacks, having a wide receiver to throw to makes for an easy transition to the pros. 

This year doesn't look to be a strong crop of wideouts at the top. In Miller's most recent big-board rankings, Mississippi teammates A.J. Brown (No. 15) and D.K. Metcalf (No. 32) are the only first-round talents. 

After all of the measurements were recorded, Iowa State's Hakeem Butler looks like a player who could move up if he also has a strong workout in Indianapolis:

The key for Butler will be during Saturday's on-field workout. His speed will be of significant interest to teams looking for help at the position. 

Speaking to Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah explained how Butler's size could actually work against him:

"He's a little bit of a long-strider, a little bit plodding as a runner. When you get to the top of your route, can he get in and out? It's tough. There's a reason why we don't see that many 6-foot-6 wide receivers in the NFL. It's tough to get in and out of your break at the size. So, that's going to be something that he can display at the combine."

While Butler is at the top of the height spectrum for receivers, Oklahoma's Marquise Brown was on the low end:

Brown was Murray's favorite target in 2018, catching 75 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. His small stature could be alarming, but Miller compared him favorably to a three-time Pro Bowler:

Another potential comparison for Brown is Chicago Bears wideout Taylor Gabriel, who is listed at 5'8" and 165 pounds.

Since going undrafted in 2014, Gabriel has proven himself to be a valuable asset in the NFL. The 28-year-old set career-highs with 67 receptions and 688 yards for the Bears in 2018. 

Brown doesn't have to worry about going undrafted. He's a borderline first-round talent, ranked No. 33 overall on Miller's big board. 

There were some physical activities that took place on Thursday. Offensive linemen, running backs, kickers and special teamers took part in the bench press. 

Weber State's Iosua Opeta led the way for offensive linemen by doing 39 reps:

The big winner from the bench press turned out to be Kansas State's Alex Barnes, who nearly set a new running back record with 34 reps and could have had one more:

Wake Forest fullback Thomas Bohanon owns the positional record with 36 reps in 2013. Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb led all running backs last year with 29 reps. 

Barnes has a lot of pressure on him to live up the success of that duo. Barkley was named Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading the league with 2,028 yards from scrimmage for the New York Giants. 

Chubb had a strong rookie season for the Cleveland Browns with 996 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry. 

Barnes has a lot of work left to do since he's not among the top 15 running backs on Miller's big board. 

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson passed along the measurements from other notable players in this class:

This wraps up the first phase of the scouting combine. On-field workouts start Friday for running backs, offensive linemen, kickers and special teams players. Those will likely play a more significant role in moving players up or down draft boards than anything that happened today, with one obvious exception. 

Murray's height and weight was the most significant development from Thursday. He passed with flying colors, potentially shaking up the top of this draft. The Arizona Cardinals, who own the No. 1 overall pick, are only one year into the Josh Rosen experiment, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn't there when that pick was made in 2018. 

The NFL offseason was already loaded with storylines, including the futures for Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell and Jon Gruden trying to build the Oakland Raiders' roster with three first-round picks. The Cardinals potentially flirting with Murray is just one more item that can be added to the equation.

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