Mac Engel

Kyler Murray should avoid being the top pick, and teams should be worried about this

Kyler Murray wants to be the top pick in the NFL Draft, which is the worst thing for his career.

There are two places in this NFL Murray should avoid: Arizona and Cincinnati. The Cards have the top pick. The Bengals are 11th.

Murray may go 1. He won’t last another 10.

There is nothing about the Cardinals that says they know how to build a winning team; that they know more about killing careers than making them.

If ever there was a time when Murray’s dad, Kevin, should step in and live the perception that he is an over-reaching Quarterback Dad, today is the day. He should pull an Archie Manning and get Kyler away from Arizona, regardless of how close his son may be with new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury.

In 2004, Archie essentially bullied the Chargers, the team with the top pick, from selecting his son, Eli. The Chargers took Eli Manning, and then traded him to the New York Giants.


One aspect about Murray that has raised concern, in fine print, happens to be the most important person in his life, his dad.

Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells is still often quoted around NFL circles, and one of his bigger gripes about quarterbacks was the “Quarterback Dad.” The QBD is the equivalent to the Soccer Mom, or the “professional” sports parent who while watching out for his kid also vicariously lives through them.

Call it the LaVar Ball Complex.

Kevin Murray will not be a reason a team elects to pass on drafting Kyler Murray, but, in NFL circles, he’s a factor. QB Dads are a necessary nuisance more than anything else.

And the perception of drafting Kyler Murray is that he comes equipped with a Quarterback Dad.

The Quarterback Dad is a problem when the parent does not agree with the coach, offensive coordinator or general manager. In college ball, Quarterback Dad has power. In the NFL, Quarterback Dad is just more of a pest than a problem.

Cam Newton had a Quarterback Dad, who pretty much told his son he was going here or there, right up until the time he was the No. 1 overall pick of the Carolina Panthers. We have not heard much from Cam’s dad since.


While his son was supposed to make the Aggies a world super power when he arrived from Allen in 2015, that was also his father’s role when he was the quarterback in College Station from 1983 to ‘86.

A devastating ankle injury suffered in the 1984 season did not stop Kevin Murray from becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the history of A&M at the time, but it effectively prevented him from having the pro career he wanted.

He was never drafted. He was signed only briefly by the San Francisco 49ers but he never played in the NFL.

People who know Kevin Murray all say the same thing: He moved on, but he just never quite got over it.

Now, his son has become at least the equivalent to the father. Unlike the dad, the son will be drafted and he will play in the NFL.

You do the math on this.

Kyler Murray grew up with a dad who did so much, was so talented, and now wants to make sure the son succeeds where he did not.


At least in public, and with the media, the perception of Kyler Murray is that he drinks from a chalice of Supreme Arrogance.

When I met him, he struck me as a typical cocky kid.

“I was coming to A&M when he was transferring,” former Oklahoma and Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight said in a phone interview. “I can say that there is just something different about guys like that. I got to play with Baker Mayfield for two years and, not to compare them, but there is an it factor. It’s just confidence. Whatever it is, they have something that allows them to be the best player on the field, and believe they are the best player.”

Another perception is that Kyler Murray is run and operated by his Quarterback Dad.

For instance, when Kyler Murray was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show during Super Bowl week; at the time Kyler was deciding whether he would pursue baseball, or put his name in the NFL Draft. The entire interview was awkward, and every time Patrick asked a question, Kyler would look over at his father trying to gauge what to say.

Then there are those who played with Kyler and maintain this perception is off.

“I do think some of that was a narrative created by the media,” said Kyler’s former A&M teammate, Justin Dunning in a phone interview. “I saw it. Kyler and I took our recruiting visit together. But we’d hear, ‘Kyler Murray’s dad is going to play a big factor,’ and that he was controlling everything behind the scenes. We never saw that. He was never at practice. He was never in the locker room.

“Now, when Kyler transferred to Oklahoma, we would hear in the locker room that there was a conflict with the offensive coordinator. There was the narrative that he wanted to play baseball and A&M would not let him. He was going to be the starter, so that wasn’t the problem. There had to be another issue. I don’t think it would be far-fetched to the think the problem was with coach (Kevin) Sumlin. Once he was transferring, of course his dad came down. Any kid who transfers the parents are going to come down and be involved.”

These are the perceptions.

The reality is Kyler Murray may be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and then he, his dad, and the rest of us will see the real truth.

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