Kyler Murray has made it known that he intends to pursue football full-time in place of his MLB offer with the Oakland Athletics. Why is this important to Saints fans? Larger media outlets like NFL.com and ESPN continually list the Saints as a good fit for Murray. I began to wonder why, but the assumption actually makes sense. if you listen to Locked on Saints, you’ve heard me say time and time again that the QB class this year is less than impressive, but as Tyler McLatchy and Ted Nguyen of the Athletic discussed last week on the ASC podcast, it’s barren of players that need to be day one starters. However, the development potential might still be there in players like Murray, Grier, and Lock. In that sense, Murray fits with New Orleans.
ESPN’s article on the matter by Matt Bowen talks about how Murray would likely thrive in the New Orleans system that lead Taysom Hill to 196 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on just 37 carries. That, coupled with his accuracy and quick release could bridge the gap for Coach Payton from the accurate and precise QB he has in Drew Brees and the athletic playmaker he has in Taysom Hill. Now, he’d have to do some learning under Drew Brees, of course. For as long as Brees decides to keep playing – he’ll be the starter. But would Murray be a good, young option to pass the torch off? Hard to tell. The fact of the matter is that after the combine, teams are gonna fall in love with Murray and he’s going to end up going high unless he unexpectedly performs poorly in his workouts.
That fact alone takes New Orleans out of the running as they don’t even select until the end of the second round, as of now. However, if the Saints like what they see in Murray and want to make a move to secure a first-round pick in order to select him, they have the second rounder from this year, trade chips like Andrus Peat and A.J. Klein as well as future draft capital, which they tend to rely on to advance a year ahead. But it would take a huge move to get into the top 10-13 ahead of Miami.
Michael Colangelo of TouchdownWire also wrote an interesting piece about how Kyler Murray could potentially force his way to a team like New Orleans because of his leverage with the MLB. The Oakland Athletics have made it known that they’ll happily take Murray back if he decides to return to the MLB. Murray and his agent could use this as a means of leveraging Murray to the team they want him to play for. Colangelo explains that avoiding teams with young QB starters is a must but that shouldn’t be an issue as they’ll likely avoid him. Teams that are in position to snatch him up in the first half of the opening round could cause concern for the young QB. For instance, Washington is a mess, Jacksonville can’t get itself together, and other organizations like the New York Giants who lack an offensive line and (as mentioned by Colangelo) the Miami Dolphins are said to be willing to wait for Tua Tugovailoa out of Alabama next season.
The ideal landing spot for Murray and his agent would be a team with an aging QB that can teach him before they hang up their cleats. That’s exactly the type of situation he’d be in with a team like New Orleans or New England. Getting to learn from and train with one of the best and take the reins after they’re gone. That’s the reason he’s a good fit for New Orleans who right now doesn’t have a for sure solution for Post-Brees play with Bridgewater hanging in the balance and Taysom Hill being a better gunner than QB. It’s not entirely about his fit, though his play style works well with Sean Payton’s gameplan, or about his size (5’10” 195 lbs.) which is what I always immediately think when I see national folks talking about how he’d work out in New Orleans. But it’s also about opportunity for both the player and the franchise.
To be honest, I’m not entirely sold at this moment. I still feel you can get a developmental prospect much later in the draft without having to give away so many assets if he doesn’t pan out. But couldn’t blame the Saints for looking to build for the future early in the draft if they get their more pressing needs taken care of in Free Agency.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC