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Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

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Old 02-28-2019, 01:32 PM   #1
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Old 02-28-2019, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

BY NICK UNDERHILL | nunderhill@theadvocate.com Feb 28, 2019 - 12:38 pm

Drew Brees was talked about like he was an anomaly.

His height made him an exception to the prototypes that teams spell out for various positions, and most organizations do not like to break those rules unless there is a good reason. If they do, the player is typically devalued to some degree because selecting an exception, by definition, is a risk.

Everyone knows that teams want quarterbacks who stand 6-foot-3 or taller, and every movement, even incremental ones, away from that mark create additional questions to answer, doubts to overcome. That is why, back in 2001, Brees turned his head and asked to be remeasured at the Hula Bowl when he was initially announced as being 1/8 of an inch shy of 6 feet. On second look, he was given all 72 inches and ended all doubt when he measured in a quarter of an inch taller at the scouting combine.

That little bit of height mattered a lot back then, but even after Brees blew teams away with his throwing ability during a workout before the draft, there were still lingering doubts.

“Ideally, Drew would be a little bigger,” former Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil told Sports Illustrated back in 2001, “but in terms of development and skills, he’s well ahead of everybody else we’ve seen. Well ahead.”

Brees was the second quarterback selected in that draft. Michael Vick, who is one of the more physically gifted quarterbacks of all time, was able to overcome measuring in the same as Brees by running a 4.33 40-yard dash. He was selected first overall. Brees was the first pick of the second round by the San Diego Chargers. He was brought in to compete with the 5-foot-10 Doug Flutie for the starting job.

Flutie, of course, wasn't taken until the 11th round of the 1985 draft despite winning the Heisman Trophy. He opted to go to the USFL, and bounced around various leagues, including a stretch as the Patriots starter in 1988 and 1989, until landing back in the league in 1998 with the Buffalo Bills. It was hard for teams to take a chance on Flutie given that before him, there weren’t many examples of shorter quarterbacks having success in the league outside of Fran Tarkenton and Sonny Jerguson.

“He was such a competitor,” Brees said. “In my opinion, still one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play professional football at a ton of levels, right? USFL, CFL, NFL, you name it. Never got the respect he deserved.”

A funny thing happened to Baker Mayfield at last year’s combine. He also grew a quarter inch from earlier in the draft process, coming in officially at 6 feet and 5/8 inches. It was enough for him to claim 6-foot-1 for the rest of his career.

But the difference between Mayfield and Brees is that Mayfield didn’t need the height. Cleveland viewed him as the best quarterback in the draft and took him with the first overall pick. He responded with a promising rookie season and perhaps paved the way for another team to overlook the height of his successor, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, and select him in the first round this year. But the Browns don’t necessarily see Mayfield as someone who has helped change the prototype.

“I don’t know,” Cleveland general manager John Dorsey said. “Fran Tarkenton was on the shorter side, and he made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Murray measured in at 5-foot-10 this week. If he gets selected in the first round, he would be the eighth quarterback standing 6-foot-1 or shorter since 1967 to earn such an honor. The others are Mayfield, Johnny Manziel (2014), Rex Grossman (2003), Vick, Cade McNown (1999), Jim McMahon (1981) and Bob Griese (1967).

Murray is a little shorter than the rest of the players on the list, but the league is changing, and there is more of a willingness to adapt to the players these days. That will have to happen if a team decides to take a chance on the Heisman winner.

“Style of play would change the way you go about your business on offense if you bring him in,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “Kyler can do everything. He can throw from the pocket, but you’d want him outside of the pocket. There’s a stat, 6-foot and under quarterbacks have fewer passes batted down than 6-foot or taller quarterbacks. The height’s not a big deal. It’s throwing through windows.”

The stat about batted passes that we found shows varying degrees of correlation between height and not having a throw knocked down. Brees (six), Wilson (seven) and Mayfield (nine) did a good job of avoiding them. Taller guys like Blake Bortles (14), Joe Flacco (13), Philip Rivers (12), Cam Newton (eight), Ben Roethlisberger (seven) and Eli Manning (six) were all over the spectrum, according to Pro Football Focus.

In other words, being tall or being short doesn’t necessarily guarantee success or ensure failure. The shorter guys need to see through lanes and make anticipatory decisions. Some guys do it better than others. But teams can also take measures to make it easier on the shorter players.

“Having played the position, when you’re shorter, and you’re in shotgun, it doesn’t have nearly the effect because you see much better out of shotgun,” current Broncos general manager and former quarterback John Elway said. “So, if you’re in shotgun and starting in shotgun that’s the only place you’ve ever been, you can see the field much better from shotgun.”

The reason this is true is that the pocket is cleaner when the quarterback gets a few yards behind the line. When dropping back from center, things are starting to collapse, and the lanes are murkier by the time the quarterback completes his drop.

The adjustment, of course, is to create an offense that suits the player. Sean Payton has often talked about how he’d tailor his offense to whatever quarterback he has after Brees. While it’s a different position, this same mentality was present when the team allowed rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport to rush the passer from a standing position instead of getting into a three-point stance. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh talked this week about tailoring his offense to quarterback Lamar Jackson.

The smart ones bend to the player instead of trying to force the player to fit.

The smart ones also know when to make an exception when a player doesn’t necessarily fit a prototype.

Will we ever learn? Never let it come down to the officiating...
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

Saw Murray come in on relief to a struggling senior at a Coppell vs Allen High school game as a sophomore. Ability won't be an issue with Kyler.

Durability is the only question I have for him at the NFL level.
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Old 02-28-2019, 03:06 PM   #4
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

Joe Theisman is "short". I've flown back and forth to DC several times on the same flight.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:27 PM   #5
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
Saw Murray come in on relief to a struggling senior at a Coppell vs Allen High school game as a sophomore. Ability won't be an issue with Kyler.

Durability is the only question I have for him at the NFL level.


Thatís what Iím thinking hard to corner the guy but when they do, omg corn flakes
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Old 03-03-2019, 02:38 PM   #6
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

But can he run around on his tippy toes like Drew so he can peak over his linemen?
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:47 AM   #7
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Re: Who can Kyler Murray thank for growing NFL draft hype? Drew Brees helped break mold of tall QBs

Scout suggests that Kyler Murray inflated his height at the Scouting Combine

https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.co...uting-combine/
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