Brugler On Kyler Murray: It's Tough To Trust The Tape

Drafting Kyler Murray is not without risk – and would likely require a change in philosophy

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
January 16, 2019 - 9:48 am

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Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray has declared for the NFL Draft, and depending on your perspective, he either has a lot going for him or a lot going against him.

“The current state of the NFL is more open-minded to a quarterback like Kyler Murray, more so than ever before,” The Athletic NFL Draft analyst Dane Brugler said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “A quarterback coming from a spread system, likes to use his leg, likes to move around, primarily out of shotgun. The big thing will be the size: 5-9, 190 pounds. We just haven’t seen a quarterback have any sustained success in the NFL with those types of measurables. It’s just a different animal when we’re talking about those types of dimensions.”

Murray has drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson, but Wilson is taller – and about 20 pounds thicker.

“He’s near maxed out in terms of how much weight he’s going to put on,” Brugler said of Murray. “He likes to use his legs, likes to move around. How’s he going to be when he takes some hits? When we study prospects, you like to trust the tape. That tells you what he’s going to be at the next level – and with Kyler Murray, it’s tough to do that because he played in a conference that didn’t play defense, and he played behind the best offensive line in all of college football. So it makes it tough to really trust the tape and trust your evaluation.”

It remains to be seen which NFL team will take a chance on Murray, but it will likely require a first-round pick – and a change in philosophy.

“If you’re going to draft Kyler Murray, you have to be all-in in terms of the play-calling, in terms of protecting him, doing your best to get him outside the pocket, helping him out so it’s not just strictly under center,” Brugler said. “You really have to change your entire offensive identity – not only to fit the strengths of what he does best, but just to protect him: open up sight lines downfield, get him in space where he can make defenders miss and find those second-chance throws, the off-platform throws. 

“When you watch Kyler Murray, you see a mini-Mahomes out there,” Brugler continued, “because he has a whip for an arm, moves around, throws from different arm angles and just makes things happen. But again, he played in a conference that really didn’t prepare him, and we saw that in the Orange Bowl against Alabama. They threw a different type of speed on defense at him, and it took him a little bit to adjust. So if you’re going to draft a Kyler Murray, you have to be all-in, change your offensive identity, and really help him to have a prolonged career.”