John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray (1).
- Kyler Murray has verbally committed to playing football in the NFL, much to the delight of fans and QB-hungry teams.
- We rank the top destinations for Murray from teams that could use him in the future to teams that need him in Week 1.
It’s the offseason, which means it’s actually NFL prediction season. Of course, this year’s “quiet time” hasn’t exactly kept the sound down so far, as the Browns signed Kareem Hunt on Monday and the Ravens agreed in principle to trade Joe Flacco to the Broncos on Wednesday.
Still, the most-impactful decision of the week may have involved an undersized quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy.
Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics reportedly aren’t taking no for an answer just yet, but football fans can presumably move forward under the assumption that Kyler Murray will be playing football in 2018.
I hope everyone realizes what an incredible blessing this is for each and every one of us football fans out there. Sure, Murray is a great passer that just had the highest single-season yards per attempt rate of all-time, but it’s his ability to make defenders look silly in space that is truly captivating to watch.
Murray finished his junior season with Oklahoma with 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns through the air to go along with 1,001 yards and another 12 scores on the ground.
Some reports have suggested Murray will fall out of the first round, but that seems unlikely considering the NFL’s recent history of embracing dual-threat quarterbacks. Our most recent Action Network Mock Draft has the New York Giants selecting Murray with the No. 6 overall pick.
We won’t know where Murray will ultimately end up for another two-and-a-half months. Still, we can begin to get an idea of who might be a potential suitor based on which teams need quarterbacks.
I identified five teams that should prioritize finding a quarterback this offseason shortly before the Super Bowl, and oddsmakers have identified an additional five suitors that could look to draft Murray.
- Miami Dolphins (+150)
- Arizona Cardinals (+500)
- New York Giants (+500)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (+500)
- Oakland Raiders (+600)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1200)
- Washington Redskins (+1200)
- Cincinnati Bengals (+1400)
- Denver Broncos (+1400)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+1400)
Great players tend to shine even in poor situations, but a strong supporting cast, capable coaching staff and thin depth chart at the position can certainly help springboard a young quarterback.
Let’s break down Murray’s potential landing spots and try to figure out which teams could best maximize his talents into fantasy football production for 2019.
Murray has enough ability to produce with probably any team in the league, but the following teams have an established quarterback under center that would at the very least seemingly delegate Murray to the bench for the majority of his rookie season.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
A modern version of the Big Ben-AB-Le’Veon triplets with Kyler-Juju-Conner is borderline erotic. Still, even in the unlikely scenario that the Steelers do land Murray, it’s unlikely his rookie year contributions would surpass a special package of plays after Ben Roethlisberger just put together one of the most-productive seasons of his career.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson (disgruntled), Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries (free agent) form one of the better receiving groups in the league. The real intriguing piece is the presence of new head coach Bruce Arians, but his “No risk it, no biscuit” mentality appears to be focused on incumbent starter Jameis Winston for at least another year.
Teams that “Already Have” a Quarterback
The following teams have a quarterback that’s led them to some measure of success over the years, but their decision to draft Murray could spell a quick end to that era.
8. Oakland Raiders
I’m far from the president of the Derek Carr fan club, but he deserves some credit for posting career-high marks in completion rate (68.9%) and yards per attempt (7.3) amidst the Raiders’ 2018 turmoil. More importantly, the Raiders chose against trading or releasing their alleged franchise quarterback and have guaranteed his $19.9 million salary for 2019.
Of course, there’s also a chance that Gruden rolls the dice yet again and decides to take a chance on Murray. I can’t print the words I’d like to use to describe a skill position group consisting of Jordy Nelson, Marcell Ateman, Seth Roberts and Jalen Richard, but let’s just say it’s less than ideal.
7. Arizona Cardinals
There’s plenty of speculation surrounding Murray and the Cardinals, who have the draft’s No. 1 overall pick.