Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press
In a statement released Monday, Murray said, “I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.”
“Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100 percent of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming NFL workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to prove to NFL decision-makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft.”
Murray was already widely projected as a first-round pick and should move up boards after giving his firm commitment to football. He had previously signed a contract with the Oakland Athletics that allowed him to play football for one season at Oklahoma before joining Oakland’s farm system. The A’s took him No. 9 overall in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft.
Unfortunately for the A’s, Murray’s lone season as Oklahoma’s starter was historic. He threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns against seven interceptions while adding 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground, taking home the Heisman Trophy. Projected as a mid-round selection heading into the 2018 season, Murray vaulted into the first-round conversation and sent his future into question.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Murray will repay $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus the A’s gave him last year. The A’s would have paid him an additional $3.16 million March 1.
The success of Murray’s NFL career will hinge on whether a player of his size can thrive as an NFL quarterback. He was listed as 5’10” by Oklahoma, a number Mike Houck of the school’s sports information office backed up last month. There had been some speculation that Murray was as short as 5’8″.
Regardless of his actual height, Murray could be the shortest quarterback drafted in the first round in modern NFL history. Even his most direct comparison, 5’11” Russell Wilson, lasted until the third round due to concerns about his height. Wilson has managed to thrive despite his size, and the Cleveland Browns are very happy with their selection of 6’1″ Baker Mayfield, who was the shortest quarterback taken No. 1 overall since Michael Vick.
The proliferation of college-style offenses, with heavy use of the shotgun formation, has made it easier for shorter quarterbacks to make throws. Murray will likely not come off the board first overall but could hear his name as early as No. 4 to the Oakland Raiders.