Stick around. I’ll get to the Kyler Murray mess regarding whether he’s taller than a kicking tee, but let’s work our way there with this . . .
I guess Michael Vick is 6 feet.
Since I’ve lived in Atlanta for more than three decades, I was around this former blur of a quarterback for the Falcons up close and personal throughout his six seasons with the team through 2006.
I’ve also seen him during his post-Atlanta years that included seven years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers before he became a broadcaster and now a consultant in the new Alliance of American Football League.
I’m just about 5-foot-9, and whenever I stand next to Vick, well, unless it’s an optical illusion, he isn’t three inches taller than me (see photo).
Which means . . . nothing.
Just like Murray’s Vick-like size means nothing.
If you don’t believe me, take it from my top NFL scout friend who has helped produce Super Bowl trophies for franchises.
He sent me the following set of texts when I asked for his analysis of Murray, the one-year quarterback wonder who pushed Oklahoma into last season’s College Football Playoff before the Sooners were crushed by the Alabama dynasty.
“That is the 1 position . . . you can play it or can’t!!! He can !!!. In this new age of NFL offenses he has a good chance!!! Few teams run the old style/conventional NFL offense !!!You are thinking like it is 3 yards and a cloud of dust !!!
"My concerns are more about durability, baseball and hand size if I was a GM !!! Makes a lot of plays with athletic ability!!! What if he loses some of that (durability), need hand size for ball control !!!"
Hand size (9.5 inches to 9.38 inches for Aaron Rodgers). Durability (Well, he was in the Oklahoma lineup enough last season to win the Heisman Trophy). Baseball (He said he's not playing).
All I’m hearing here from my NFL scout friend is that a team would be goofy in the head not to view Murray as an impact player along the lines of Vick, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft.
Vick still ranks among the elite of the elites for producing goose bumps, but such things happen when you threaten to outran the wind.
No NFL quarterback has managed more than his 6,109 yards for a career. He had a potent enough left arm to throw for 21 touchdown passes with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. He appeared in four Pro Bowls.
If not for Vick's penchant for fighting, torturing and killing dogs that sent him to the slammer for nearly two years after his Falcons days, he would have sprinted toward the vicinity of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Now I’m thinking about Fran Tarkenton, an earlier version of Vick with the scrambling and the thrilling.
Even though Tarkenton also was listed as 6 feet as a quarterback during the 1960s and 1970s, it didn't matter. He spent half of his 18 NFL seasons making Pro Bowls. He grabbed the league’s 1975 most valuable player award, and he reached the hall of fame for both college and the pros.
Here's another thing: Among current NFL quarterbacks, Drew Brees is 6-0 ¼, but the Who Dat folks couldn't care less.
Brees took the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl victory out of nowhere with his consistently accurate spirals, and he’ll join Tarkenton someday in Canton.
Then you have Russell Wilson, the shortest quarterback in the league at 5-10ish, but he has taken his Seattle Seahawks to two Super Bowls, including to a world championship, and few quarterbacks are as clutch as this one.
So why the controversy involving Murray?
There isn’t one.
Well, there shouldn’t be for somebody who played out of his mind last season for Oklahoma. He passed for 4,361 yards, and he had 42 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also averaged slightly more than seven yards per carry after rushing for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Murray is such an athlete that the Oakland Athletics gave him a contract with a $4.66 million signing bonus as their ninth pick in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft. He declined the Athletics offer, partly because he can make significantly as a top NFL pick.
In case you’re wondering, those who do such things measured Murray Thursday in Indianapolis at the league’s yearly scouting combine.
They said Murray was 5-10 ½.
Which means . . .