In Depth

Kyler Murray: the multiple sports star taking the NFL by storm

Arizona’s new QB was the No.1 pick in the NFL Draft - a year after being the No.9 pick in the MLB Draft

Wearing a pink pinstriped three-piece suit there was no doubting that Kyler Murray had dressed to impress for the 2019 NFL Draft.

A college star in both American football and baseball, the 21-year-old from the University of Oklahoma has made US sporting history by becoming the first man to be selected in the opening rounds of both the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) drafts.

Murray was supposed to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics, The New York Times reports, and in the 2018 MLB Draft he was selected by the A’s as the No.9 first-round pick.

However, in January he turned his back on baseball - and a lucrative signing-on bonus - by declaring himself for this year’s NFL Draft in Nashville.

The rest, as they say, is history, and on Friday the quarterback was selected as the No.1 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.

He follows in the footsteps of Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield by becoming the second successive Oklahoma Sooners quarterback - and Heisman Trophy winner - to be the No.1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

In reaction to Murray’s pick, Mayfield tweeted: “BACK TO BACK!!!!! CONGRATS K1!!!! Well deserved my brotha!!!”

Dream comes true

With talent in both baseball and American football Murray previously said that there was “no reason to limit yourself to one sport”. However, playing in the NFL was always his ultimate ambition.

Speaking to the NFL Network, Murray said: “I’m blessed to be here, I can’t even put it into words - it’s a dream come true. As a kid growing up, you always dream of being the No.1 pick in the draft. I’m ready to go. I’m a winner, I love the game.

“I want to be the best ever to play this game, but it’ll take a lot of hard work and dedication. I’m ready to do that.”

That’s good news for the Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury - who has known Murray since he was 15 years old. After years of chasing the quarterback Kingsbury finally has his man.

“It’s something we’ve talked about for a long time,” Murray said. “God works in mysterious ways. For me to play for him now is a surreal feeling.”

Dynamic running ability

NFL.com writer Kevin Patra says that although the 5ft 10in Murray might be shorter in stature than other quarterbacks, he boasts a “strong, acutely accurate arm to pair with dynamic running ability”.

At Oklahoma Murray was back-up to starting quarterback Mayfield, but once his team-mate had left for the Browns the Texas-born star stepped up and started to make the headlines.

Sky Sports’ James Simpson said: “Murray waited his chance, and when it came he took it, matching Mayfield’s final-year accomplishment of a Heisman Trophy win with 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns through the air of his own. On top of the prolific passing, he added 1,001 rushing yards and 12 TDs on the ground.

“If everything falls the right way, if the stars align, Murray’s potential is franchise-changing.”

That pink suit…

Forget the top picks and draft analysis, the big talking point in Nashville was Murray’s dress-sense. Where did he get the inspiration from for the three-piece, pinstriped pink number?

The Arizona star revealed that his suit was inspired by one worn by Leonardo Di Caprio in The Great Gatsby in 2013.

“It was pretty sweet,” said Dan Wetzel, columnist at Yahoo Sports. “And it’s about only the 99th most unexpected thing to occur in the past year to turn a supposed too-short-for-the-NFL, back-up college quarterback and would-be Oakland Athletics farmhand into the king of the draft.”

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