With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis officially over, the football world now turns its focus towards the upcoming NFL draft which happens from Thursday, April 25 through Saturday, April 27.
Mock draft creators and oddsmakers have all been frantically shifting around their numbers and predictions based on what they just saw last weekend in Indy, and a new favorite first overall pick may be emerging with the odds now beginning to reflect that.
Here we examine how Kyler Murray’s low key Combine appearance has somehow given him the same odds of becoming the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft as the formerly favored Nick Bosa.
Quick Bio: Who is Nick Bosa?
Nick Bosa is a 6-foot-4, 263-pound 21-year-old defensive end from Fort Lauderdale, FL where he was a five-star recruit out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School.
Bosa went to THE Ohio State University where in his second year he was named a unanimous First Team All-Big Ten and the Smith-Brown Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year as well as a Big Ten Champion.
Due to a core muscle injury and surgery, Bosa sat out most of his junior season in 2018 and opted out of his senior year by declaring for the 2019 NFL draft.
For a deeper look at his full story, check out: Nick Bosa 2019 NFL Draft Position: Odds and Predictions
Quick Bio: Who is Kyler Murray?
Kyler Murray is the 21-year-old, 5-foot10, 207-pound quarterback and left fielder out of Bedford, Texas who played both football and baseball at Oklahoma.
Murray, a dual threat to run and throw the football, won the Heisman trophy his senior year after being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft after his junior season.
In February, much to the surprise of the Oakland A’s, Murray declared his commitment to football and has been the topic of football conversations ever since.
For more on Murray, take a look at Kyler Murray NFL Draft 2019: Odds and Predictions
Who was favored as the No.1 overall draft pick before the NFL Combine?
Right before the Combine began, these were the odds posted on the favorite to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft:
- Nick Bosa -200
- Kyler Murray +200
- Quinnen Williams +1000
- Dwayne Haskins +1000
- Ed Oliver +1400
- Josh Allen +1400
Bosa was not only the clear favorite, but it made sense that he would be selected first given who the team with the number one pick is.
Which team has the number one overall draft pick?
The first overall pick in the NFL draft always goes to whichever team had the worst record the previous season, and this year that honor goes to the Arizona Cardinals, who went 3-13 and ended up in last place in the NFC West.
Thanks to some low-level tiebreakers, the second overall pick goes to the San Francisco 49ers, who were one of three teams to go 4-12 and who, like the Cardinals, were in the NFC West basement at a similarly distant third place.
The third overall pick goes to the 4-12 AFC East last-place New York Jets, while the fourth overall pick goes to the 4-12 AFC West last-place Oakland Raiders.
Doesn’t Arizona already have a quarterback?
Yes, they have the tenth pick from last year’s draft, Josh Rosen, whom they signed for a four-year, $17.84 million contract with an $11 million signing bonus.
In fact, Rosen is the reason football experts thought Arizona would even be interested in Murray and instead figured the defensively hurting team would be more attracted to the player many consider to be the most talented athlete in the draft, Nick Bosa.
But in 14 games and 13 starts last season, Rosen threw for just 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions with a completion rate of 55.2, leaving some to wonder if he’s got the goods to play at the NFL level.
Suddenly the idea of trading Rosen away and starting over with Murray seems more desirable to some than taking the chance of having another similarly bad year with the same man under center.
Who is now favored as the No. 1 overall pick post-NFL Combine?
Since the NFL Combine ended on Monday, a strange thing began happening to the odds of who the No. 1 overall pick would be.
Bosa’s odds have made a drastic shift from -200 all the way to +160, whereas Murray’s odds have moved from +200 to +160, making the two athletes dead even favorites as the number one pick.
Some sportsbooks have even made Murray the favorite, giving him -200 odds and Bosa +150 odds, which is a long way from Murray ’s.
Did Bosa blow the Combine?
Absolutely not, especially when you consider it’s been just four months since his core muscle major surgery.
The over/under listed for his bench press reps was 24.5, which he beat easily with 29 reps of 225-pounds, though his 40-yard dash time of 4.79 was a bit slower than his over/under of 4.65.
The recurrence rate of an injury like his is rare once it’s been surgically repaired, so it should no longer be a major factor after what Bosa showed he could do at the Combine.
What happened with Murray at the Combine to change things?
Tough to say, especially given that Murray didn’t take part in any on-field drills, figuring that would do nothing to improve his standing.
What he did do was get measured, and instead of the 5-foot-9 inches and 195-pounds he was listed as in Oklahoma, Murray’s height was just over 5-foot-10 inches and his weight 207-pounds, a pleasant surprise for everyone.
His poise didn’t hurt either, the young man standing tall and assured in front of packed media crowds, answering questions about his smaller size by explaining confidently that though he’s inevitably the smallest guy on the field, he’s also always been the most impactful.
Isn’t Murray too small to be an NFL quarterback?
Tough to say at this point – though the atypical NFL quarterback stands well over 6-foot tall and has enough meat on his bones to take hits from 300-pound linemen.
Last year, undersized quarterback Baker Mayfield went through the same pre-draft scrutiny for his smaller measurements, but the OTHER Oklahoma Heisman trophy winner Mayfield ended up going first overall and later proved he could succeed at the NFL level by bringing the winless Browns some W’s, so why not Murray?
Some experts are comparing Murray’s size to another small yet successful NFL quarterback, the Seattle Seahawks’ 5-foot-11 Russell Wilson, who has figured out how to help his team win despite his shorter stature.
Also important to keep in mind is that Arizona’s new head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been a longtime fan of Murray, actually recruiting him out of high school when he was at Texas-Tech, and it’s been said that Murray is the perfect fit for what Kingsbury plans to do offensively.
Could this all just be a smokescreen?
Of course, but if it is, it’s a well-played one.
It isn’t uncommon for the team with the first draft pick to pull a few head-fakes in order to bolster the value of either their pick or a particular player.
By claiming Rosen is still their starter, his value raises in the event that Arizona needs to trade him, and by seeming to still want Bosa, Arizona increases his value to potential seekers of their first overall pick.
Whomever they plan to choose, chances are they will keep it as quiet as possible until they’re officially on the clock on draft day.
Who will be the top ten picks in the NFL draft?
Obviously, nobody knows for sure, but a lot of the mock drafts that had Bosa going at number one have now been shifted to give Murray that highly coveted spot.
Regardless of exactly who goes first, most experts agree that it will be either Murray or Bosa.
And truth be told, either way, Arizona will come out a winner, since they could use all the offensive and defensive help they can get.
NFL Mock Draft Top-Ten Picks (as of March 5, 2019)
1. Arizona: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
2. San Francisco: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
3. New York Jets: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
4. Oakland: OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
5. Tampa Bay: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
6. New York Giants: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
7. Jacksonville: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
8. Detroit: WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
9. Buffalo: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
10. Denver: QB Drew Lock, Missouri