Despite his 5-foot-9 frame, Murray’s NFL draft stock seems to be rising after he won the Heisman Trophy and his Sooners made the College Football Playoff. His exact value depends upon who you ask.
Murray is likely a third-round pick with potential to jump into the second round, according to Rapoport. However, one anonymous general manger suggested Murray would be a late first-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
It’s never too early for smokescreens, where general mangers begin to mislead their competitors. But it’s not wild to think Murray could sneak into the first round. After all, some thought Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was not deserving of a first-round pick before he skyrocketed into the top 10 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson seemed like something of an experiment with so much athleticism but a lack of polish as a passer. He snuck into the first round last year. Heck, the Miami Dolphins picked Pat White in the second round. Murray has qualities — tangible and intangible — which appeal enormously to teams. If he was 6-foot or taller, he’d absolutely be a first-round pick, and perhaps a top 10 selection.
There’s no doubt that taking a player as small as Murray would present a considerable risk. He’s smaller than Drew Brees (6-foot), Russell Wilson (5-foot-10) and Baker Mayfield (6-foot). The prototypical quarterback doesn’t necessarily have to be 6-foot-3. Still, Murray would immediately be the smallest quarterback in the NFL. He’d either re-confirm that quarterbacking has a height requirement, or he’d erase the rule that quarterbacks must be tall. General managers may have reservations about watching that experimental process unfold in their franchise.
His prowess as a baseball prospect will also make teams think twice about drafting him. The temptation of going to the MLB will be significant, especially if Murray begins to struggle and his height makes his development challenging. Murray would have to make a firm commitment to an interested team if they would consider drafting him in the first round.
If a team loves Murray and thinks they can build an unorthodox offense around him, they could draft him in the first round in order to have the flexibility to use a fifth-year option on his rookie contract (which is only eligible for first-round picks). However, the risks could (and perhaps should) be enough to scare teams into letting Murray drop into the second or third round.