Kyler Murray Hints He’s Looking at NFL, Despite Being A’s First-round Pick

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January 14 is becoming an extremely important date for the Oakland A's. It holds no significance on the MLB calendar, but it's a big day for the NFL.

And a big day for the A's 2018 first-round draft pick.

The A's signed Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray to a $4.66 million signing bonus last summer by making the outfielder version of him the No. 9 overall pick in the MLB draft. Murray, now the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, could be a first-round pick for his talents on the gridiron, too.

So, why is Jan. 14, 2019, so important? Underclassmen must declare by that date if they will enter the NFL draft or stay in college. And despite signing with the A's and recently saying this will be his last year playing football, Murray might be having second thoughts.

Murray recently was asked by Tim Tebow, who's now in the Mets' minor league system after being a Heisman winner and an NFL first-round pick, how he will go about choosing baseball or football.

"I think that's something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season and weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of me," Murray said Saturday. "Right now my future is already kind of planned out, but we'll see what happens."

That doesn't sound too definitive one way or the other. As a competitor who has been a two-sport star his whole life, Murray wants to at least hear what the NFL thinks of him, and that's understandable. He already might be hearing good things, as ESPN's top draft analysts have high regards for him as a football prospect.

"If he were three inches taller, he'd be the No. 1 pick overall, hands down," Mel Kiper Jr. said Wednesday. "I think the height issue is the reason why instead of a first-round pick, he'd maybe a second-round pick if the NFL was a possibility."

Murray is listed at 5-foot-10, but that easily could be a favor from his school. The NFL is changing, though, and with the likes of Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and 2018 No. 1 draft pick Baker Mayfield, height is becoming less of a concern for quarterbacks.

"I disagree, Mel," Todd McShay responded. "I think Kyler Murray would be a first-round pick. I think the league is changing. I think it's more about quick twitch and guys that can move, and he does that about as well as anyone in the country. And I think he's gonna win the Heisman because of it.

"He's made a decision to go play baseball, and it's probably a smart decision for the long term of his career, I would love to see him give it a shot in the NFL because I think he's got a shot to be a really good starting quarterback at the next level."

In his first season as the Sooners' starting quarterback, Murray has been nearly just as good as Mayfield through the air and adds another dimension on the ground with his elusiveness. Through 13 games, he has 4,053 passing yards while completing 70.9 percent of his attempts, and he has added another 892 rushing yards.

With his right arm and both legs, Murray has totaled 51 touchdowns to seven interceptions. If he torches Alabama's defense in the College Football Playoff, he could solidify himself as a first-round pick, win or lose. 

It was three weeks ago that Murray recreated Bo Jackson's iconic photo in shoulder pads with a baseball bat hanging over his shoulders. And it's looking more like he wants to be Bo 2.0 at the next level. 

MLB teams are issued an equivalent pick in the next draft if they fail to sign a player drafted in the first two rounds. This is different, though. The A's signed Murray, but he might just be too good at football to pass up years on a bus in the minor leagues.

Buy your 2019 calendar now, Billy Beane, and put a big question mark on Jan. 14. Save some room for a happy face or frowny face. That will come later.

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