Imagine reigning Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Kyler Murray throwing the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., handing it to Saquon Barkley, or scrambling for Giants first downs when a defense dared to try and cover both.
That tantalizing hypothetical scenario could be reality now that Murray, a two-sport star and first-round pick of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, has declared he will pursue an NFL career.
But even if Murray and the Giants aren’t a perfect match, the Oklahoma QB’s Monday announcement that he’ll pursue football was great news for Dave Gettleman and the Giants.
Murray’s presence at the top of April’s NFL Draft adds another talented passer to the prospect pool if the Giants wish to draft Eli Manning’s heir at No. 6 overall.
It increases the value of the Giants’ first-round pick if Gettleman wants to trade out of that spot to acquire assets with Murray or Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins still on the board.
And in the event Murray and Haskins both go in the top five, this bumps at least one more attractive position player down into the Giants’ laps.
Both Gettleman and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur are known to prefer taller quarterbacks, so it’s been assumed they would not be interested in Murray, who stands just 5-9 ? inches and 195 pounds, per the Oklahoma strength staff.
However, Murray’s well-rounded talent and production are difficult to ignore.
Compared to Manning’s immobility, Murray rushed 140 times for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns last season for the Sooners to complement a 69 completion percentage for 4,361 passing yards, 42 TDs and seven interceptions.
Granted, Big 12 defenses aren’t NFC East defenses, but the point is Murray would add an entire extra element to the Giants’ offense that it long has lacked.
And Shurmur is an imaginative play-caller who at least would be intrigued by the possibilities of adding Murray. Not to mention Shurmur and Gettleman just drafted a 6-foot-1 QB in Kyle Lauletta last spring, and Shurmur excelled with 6-foot-1 Case Keenum in Minnesota in 2017.
And sure, a 6-foot-1 quarterback still is three inches taller than one at 5-foot-10, but the point is both are undersized compared to the Gettleman/Shurmur prototype (Manning is 6-foot-5).
Ohio State’s Haskins, at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, is more of the Giants’ preferred physical mold at QB. He is a pure pocket passer with a big arm. He lacks Murray’s mobility, but he is traditionally closer to what the Giants would value at the position.
Gettleman never has drafted a team’s franchise quarterback as general manager, though, and if this year’s draft proceeds like many in recent years, neither Murray nor Haskins will be on the board when the Giants are on the clock at No. 6.
Two quarterbacks have been drafted in the top three picks in three of the last four NFL Drafts.
Last year, the Browns took Baker Mayfield first and the Jets picked Sam Darnold third. In 2016, the Rams took Jared Goff first and the Eagles selected Carson Wentz second. And in 2015, the Buccaneers drafted Jameis Winston first and the Titans picked Marcus Mariota at two.
Teams also traded up for the picks to select Darnold, Goff, Wentz, and Mitchell Trubisky (Bears, No. 2, 2017), all in the last three years, all within the top three picks of that year’s draft.
Murray’s choice of football over baseball suggests he is confident he’ll be at least a top-10 pick, if not top-five. The undersized Mayfield’s strong rookie year (though he’s still 6-foot-1) and teams’ track records reaching for the next best QB also make it likely Murray will go high.
Gettleman never has traded up in any draft as either Panthers or Giants GM, and if he wanted to trade up this draft to get either Murray or Haskins, it’d be expensive.
He’d likely be competing with the Jaguars at No. 7, the Broncos at No. 10, the Dolphins at No. 13 and Washington at No. 15, to say nothing of what teams ahead of the Giants will do — especially the Cardinals at No. 1 and the Raiders at No. 4, who both are wild cards.
If Murray and Haskins both go top five and Gettleman doesn’t trade up, of course, it could drop a coveted position player such as Alabama DT Quinnen Williams or Michigan edge Rashan Gary into Big Blue’s waiting arms.
And if Murray falls to the Giants and Gettleman isn’t interested, he could trade back for a huge haul, perhaps to No. 13 with the Dolphins, where he still could get an offensive lineman or pass rusher while accumulating more draft assets to replenish the Giants’ depth.
So truly, Murray’s decision to play football is good news for the Giants even if they don’t draft him — though of course, maybe they should.