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Dan Bickley

Kyler Murray’s great measurements do nothing but help Arizona Cardinals

FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws during an NCAA college football game against UCLA, in Norman, Okla. Murray was named a Heisman Trophy finalist on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

INDIANAPOLIS – Josh Rosen is having a bad offseason. His car was badly damaged in an accident. His Instagram account was hacked. And his potential successor just won the NFL Combine.

Former Oklahoma star Kyler Murray officially stands over 5-foot-10. He weighed in at 207 pounds. He’s halfway to the No. 1 pick, earning millions of dollars on Thursday without breaking a sweat. His measurements represent a gold mine for the Cardinals.

There are great reasons to draft Murray. He is the quarterback that Kliff Kingsbury covets most. And if you’re going to stray this far out of the box, hiring a 39-year old who failed in college and carries zero NFL coaching experience, why not go all the way?

Keep in mind: The new trend if the NFL isn’t just the acceptance of non-traditional quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield. It’s the synergy created when pairing them with innovative, play-calling head coaches.

This is not a matter of giving up on Rosen. It’s simply drafting someone better, more athletic, with a higher ceiling, a standout pocket passer with speed comparable to Michael Vick. In all likelihood, his running ability won’t be quantified until Murray stages his own workout for NFL scouts, and that will be the day he cements his status as the best player in the draft.

For now, there’s a strong belief that Murray added a lot of false weight before stepping on the NFL’s official scale, which would clearly sabotage his performance in the Scouting Combine’s 40-yard dash. It speaks volumes that Murray might’ve been forced to chug water just to break stereotypes and prove he’s capable of running a NFL offense.

Either way, television analyst Charles Davis ran into a close friend of Murray’s who confirmed those suspicions, saying, “I don’t think he’ll ever weigh that again.”

“He doesn’t need to be at 207 to play in the NFL,” Davis said. “His gifts are speed, quickness, elusiveness and vision. Don’t take those gifts away.”

The surprising twist in Murray’s size and stature shocked most of the NFL community on Thursday, and it will benefit the Cardinals most if they choose not to draft him. Most 5-foot-10 quarterbacks would be instantly discarded. With Murray, the measurement is acceptable because it’s only a half-inch shorter than Seattle star Russell Wilson, an elite talent who has started 125 consecutive games. And it benefits the Cardinals because it will increase the amount of teams interested in drafting Murray, possibly creating a feeding frenzy that turns into a bidding war.

The Raiders are an obvious candidate. Like Kingsbury, Oakland head coach Jon Gruden has raved about Murray’s transcendent ability. The Raiders could make an attractive offer, including two first-round picks (No. 4 and No. 24 overall), along with a later-round selection. It would be an offer hard to refuse in Arizona, where serious upgrades are needed at wide receiver and the offensive line.

Gruden was asked about the allure of trading for the No. 1 pick, and said the following:

“It’s very attractive. You know, it’s why we’re here, trying to measure every possibility.”

Murray’s height and weight are the dominant storylines of the Scouting Combine, but his story represents something even bigger. He could become the NFL’s version of Steve Nash and Steph Curry, undersized NBA stars who inspired a generation of younger players who suddenly believed that size was no longer an impediment.

Murray could do the same for thousands of young football quarterbacks who are loaded with ability but vertically challenged. He can be a pioneer because he doesn’t look like a football player. He looks like us.

Granted, the Cardinals are in the business of winning football games, not blazing trails. But they took a risk on Kingsbury and they should double down with Murray, a player who will shine because of his size, not in spite of his size.

He will be more than a quarterback. He will be a classic underdog. The kind with a lot of bite.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@bonneville.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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Dan Bickley bio
Dan Bickley is the most influential sports media member in Arizona sports history, having spent over 20 years as the award-winning lead sports columnist for The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com and almost two decades as a Valley sports radio talk show host. In spring 2018, Bickley made the decision to leave the newspaper to join the Arizona Sports team as host of the entertaining and informative midday show Bickley and Marotta, as well as bring his opinionated and provocative column exclusively to ArizonaSports.com.
Bickley’s journalism career began in his hometown of Chicago, where he was part of a star-studded staff at the Chicago Sun-Times. He chronicled Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships; covered the Olympics in eight different countries and attended 14 Super Bowls; spent three weeks in an Indianapolis courthouse writing about Mike Tyson’s rape trial; and once left his laptop in an Edmonton bar after the Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
He has won multiple awards, written two books, formed a rock band, fathered three children, and once turned down an offer to work at the New York Times.  His passions include sports, music, the alphabet, good beer and great radio. After joining Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, he couldn’t be happier