NFL Draft Talk: Are Kyler and Kevin Murray the NFL’s Lonzo and LaVar Ball?
Let’s think back to 2017 for a moment. A young and talented point guard out of UCLA, Lonzo Ball is projected to be a lottery pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA draft. The exuberant father LaVar Ball is using any and all forms of media to promote his eldest son. It seems like every sports network is talking about Lonzo and LaVar Ball. With many overstated claims about the young man’s greatness, LaVar openly pleads to the Los Angeles Lakers to draft Lonzo. On draft night, with the 2nd overall pick, the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball of UCLA. 2 years later, we are still waiting on the guy to prove he can live up to the hype. We aren’t here to discuss Lonzo and LaVar Ball, however. This is a story about Kyler Murray and his own “helicopter” father Kevin Murray.
In the 2018 MLB Draft, the Oakland A’s selected Kyler in the first round. The two parties came to an agreement on allowing Murray to return to the University of Oklahoma for the 2018-2019 football season. In doing so, Murray lit up the Big 12 and every scoreboard he ran past. He was awarded the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best player.
After the Sooners season ended, speculation began. Would he declare for the NFL Draft? Would he report to Oakland training camp? The questions were finally answered when Murray announced his intent. Un fact, he issued a public statement that he was committed to playing football and was all in. Although, reports began to circulate that Kyler’s father Kevin may have had a bit too much influence in his decision. Now with the NFL Combine upon us it seems a number of teams are quite wary of selecting Murray.
The talent is there for the young man. His 5’10” slender frame and an Oakland A’s contract have a few teams worried though. Add in the rumors of a decision swinging parent and his draft stock is taking a hit. Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said previously to the matchup between his 2018 Texas Tech Red Raiders and Murray’s Sooners that if he had the first overall pick he would take Kyler Murray. Well, he now has that option. However, Arizona has last year’s 1st round selection in Josh Rosen under center currently.
To try to dispel some of the rumors as well as save Murray’s draft appeal, former OU head coach Bob Stoops and his successor Lincoln Reilly have gone on record in regards to Kevin Murray’s reported LaVar Ball type reputation. Both have issued sentiments that there wasn’t an issue with the elder Murray’s influence. Kevin Murray himself has even voiced that the decisions are all on Kyler now, he is all-in on football. Even so, is the risk worth taking?
The New York Giants are ready to begin grooming Eli Manning‘s replacement. The Jaguars have had a decade long QB issue and are in prime position to take a guy early. The Dolphins are looking to replace Ryan Tannehill. The New England Patriots have to eventually bring in Tom Brady‘s successor.
A benefit for Murray is that the QB class around him is fairly weak. But does that mean a team should risk a first round pick on the small QB? Drew Brees is proof that shorter QBs can have success from the pocket. Mobility tends to be one of the strengths of Murray’s style and that only increases the risk of injury. Can his frame endure the beating it will take at the next level? Then there is the multi-million dollar baseball contract to consider.
If Murray were to perform poorly or not get the starting job, he could always bail and go play baseball. Be it by injury or a change of heart, a team would have wasted a valuable pick. It’s no different than any other year. Risk vs Reward. Every pick and every player selected is 50/50. Kyler Murray just has a higher profile than most. Thus, it will be interesting to watch this unfold. Could he be the NFL version of Lonzo Ball?
What are your thoughts on Kyler Murray? Leave a comment below.
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