Kyler Murray’s NFL team fits: Raiders, Redskins among nine who could target QB

Kyler Murray has made his choice, opting to go full bore into his pursuit of a career as a  quarterback rather than take a swing at a baseball.

Now, it’s NFL teams who face the dilemma: Which one is prepared to make the 5-10 passer a top pick?

The Heisman Trophy winner and former Oklahoma quarterback will have plenty of opportunities to make his case, starting with the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis later this month. And while Murray will face questions about his size and relative lack of experience (with only one full season as a starter in college), he also should command considerable interest as a potential first-round pick.

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With plenty left to be sorted in the two and a half months leading up to the NFL draft, here are nine teams that could be in the market for Murray:

Cardinals: As the holder of the No. 1 pick with last year’s first-round quarterback Josh Rosen already in tow, Arizona represents one of the wilder landing spots for Murray. But fans couldn’t ignore an October video of then-Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury saying he would take the dual-threat standout with the top selection if he could. After being hired by the Cardinals this offseason, Kingsbury now must confront his hypothetical. Drafting Murray would mark another reset for the franchise and possibly entail selling low on Rosen in a trade, which could be foolhardy for a team that would offer a rookie little support.

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Raiders: How about this for a big splash by Jon Gruden and first-year general manager Mike Mayock? With the No. 4 overall pick and two more first-round selections, Oakland has the resources to take Murray and still add talent elsewhere on a depleted roster. Any questions regarding his size might not bother Gruden, who said he’s “putting away all the prototypes I once had” for quarterbacks. Such a move might necessitate dispatching Derek Carr, but it would build plenty of excitement ahead of the 2020 move to Las Vegas.

Giants: One year after bypassing the opportunity to invest the No. 2 pick in a successor for Eli Manning, the Giants shape up as the team perhaps best prepared to pull the trigger on a first-round passer. GM Dave Gettleman hasn’t committed to bringing back his veteran as the starter, though Manning seems like a sensible option to hold things down while a younger player learns the ins and outs of the NFL. Teaming Murray with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and running back Saquon Barkley could put defensive players and coaches on their heels, but coach Pat Shurmur said last year, “I fancy guys that are tall.”

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Jaguars: After Blake Bortles bottomed out last season and Cody Kessler didn’t fare much better, Jacksonville is almost obligated to find an outside answer at quarterback. Murray could give the Jaguars’ stagnant attack a much-needed jolt, though coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo would have to enact a scheme that would afford him the opportunity to do so.

Broncos: Given that Broncos honcho John Elway went for a cross-sport metaphor last year by saying he wasn’t done “swinging and missing” in his attempts to find a quarterback, it would only be fitting for him to take a flier on another passer who flirted with baseball. The similarities between Murray and Elway might end at their dual-sport dalliance, but the Broncos leader should take a long look at the diminutive playmaker given Denver’s inability to address the position (Elway recently called current starter Case Keenum a “short-term fix”) since Peyton Manning rode off.

Bengals: New coach Zac Taylor said Andy Dalton was a “great fit” for Cincinnati’s new scheme, but even the Sean McVay disciple will be hard-pressed to mold the 31-year-old into more than a pedestrian passer. Murray would form a dynamic backfield with running back Joe Mixon while sparking big plays for receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd.

Dolphins: Miami’s rebuild might be an extended one, and bringing on a franchise quarterback to flounder alongside subpar talent can be a dangerous proposition. But if the Dolphins want to get going next season rather than take their chances on the top talent that could be available in 2020, taking Murray at No. 13 (or trading up to do so) might be the right move.

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Redskins: With Alex Smith’s status unclear after the 34-year-old underwent multiple surgeries in the aftermath of a broken fibula and tibia, Washington is stuck in quarterback purgatory. As more than a stopgap solution, Murray could stir some excitement for an organization that seems to be short on goodwill with its fan base. He might not seem like a natural fit for Jay Gruden’s offense, but this move would be in keeping with owner Daniel Snyder and team president Bruce Allen’s track records.

Patriots: For maximum entertainment value, consider the possibilities of Murray landing with the defending Super Bowl champions. Bill Belichick might be the NFL’s pre-eminent coach in catering to unique talent, and Murray would be a fascinating test of that ability. And with Tom Brady maintaining he plans to play until he’s 45, New England’s timeline for a changing of the guard would bear watching.

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