NFL Draft, NFL News

NFL Combine rumors: Kyler Murray wins day, Jason Witten returns and more

Kyler Murray owned the NFL Combine on Thursday, winning the day by measuring well. Now, Murray will sit on the sidelines until his Oklahoma pro day.

INDIANAPOLIS — Five-foot-10. Oh, and an eighth of an inch. Kyler Murray might be the first and only quarterback in NFL Scouting Combine history to measure at that height.

Despite his diminutive stature relative to almost anybody who has ever played the position at the pro level, Murray’s numbers were a win for him and his camp on Thursday morning. Agent Erik Burkhardt had to be thrilled, with the Heisman Trophy winner also coming in at 207 pounds and with 9.50-inch hands, a half-inch larger than Patrick Mahomes; paws.

While the talk throughout the rest of the week here in Indy will be about Murray’s measurements and what they mean, there won’t be enough chatter about something else.

The Arizona Cardinals must be beaming.

Arizona has the No.1 overall pick for the first time since 1958, the franchise’s penultimate year in Chicago. Depending on who and what you believe, the Cardinals would like to trade out of that spot by drumming up the belief that they are going to trade Josh Rosen and take Murray unless they receive a Godfather offer.

Had Murray measured at 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, general manager Steve Keim would have had a tough sell on his hands. Few teams would have entertained that notion. Now with Murray coming in closer to 6-feet tall, there’s a belief in NFL circles that he’s all but guaranteed to be an early — if not top — pick.

Keim has dropped clues all week that he’s not completely sold on Rosen as his future. In reality, he’s trying to drive the price on his pick to get a bevy of draft capital back. Keim staked his entire career on the UCLA star when he traded up last spring to select Rosen at the 10th spot. To trade him now would be to admit that both he was horribly wrong, and that new head coach Kliff Kingsbury — who shares an agent with Murray — is really running the show.

Over the next two months, there will be conversations around Murray. The Cardinals will toe the line between supporting their current leading man while making eyes across the room, hoping not to fall off the tightrope. It’s a dangerous game, and one that got a hell of a lot more interesting when Murray was finished being measured.

Witten leaves the booth for the ‘Boys

Beyond Murray, the headline of the day was Jason Witten going back to the Dallas Cowboys. After a tough year in the Monday Night Football booth, one of the game’s great tight ends is back on the field with a one-year, $5 million deal.

Frankly, this says more about the state of Dallas’ offense than anything else. The Cowboys have Amari Cooper and little else in the way of a passing attack. Cole Beasley is expected to hit free agency and Allen Hurns is trying to recover from a devastating leg injury. With free agency not bearing much in terms of receivers and tight ends, the Cowboys were desperate.

As for Witten, this is an escape from constant criticism. He doesn’t look like he’s quitting and ESPN doesn’t need to remove him. Everybody gets to keep their dignity, and Dallas brings back an all-time favorite.

49ers have no plans for Antonio Brown

The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the odds-on favorites to land Antonio Brown in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Thursday, general manager John Lynch strode to the podium and said there have been no talks about Brown within the organization, and there are no plans to do so.

“We have not,” Lynch said. “It’s funny, the world we live in, where one tweet from a player to another turns into interest and all of that. But hey, that is the world we live in. I can tell you, like every team in this league, we think the guy is a heck of a football player. But we have not had talks with the Steelers. I can tell you that.”

Brown was interested in going to San Francisco. It appears that dream is dead, perhaps due in some measure to his antics over the last few months.

Jonah Williams has all the answers … and a great line

Williams could well be the first offensive lineman taken off the board come the draft, but he’s battling some skepticism. The Alabama star was measured with short arms at 33 5/8 inches, raising questions about whether he can play tackle or should be kicked inside. Speaking to reporters from his podium on Thursday, Williams humorously disarmed the notion that he’ll struggle due to the concern.

“I think it’s a small portion of what it takes to be a tackle at the next level. If you look at a lot of the successful tackles over the past 10 years from Joe Thomas, Joe Staley, Jake Matthews, Jason Peters, La’el Collins, Riley Reiff and Ryan Ramczyk, are just a couple guys off the top of my head that have shorter arms than me.”

A few minutes later, Williams responded to more questions about arm length with the haymaker of the session.

“I think it is extremely close-minded to set an arbitrary threshold to say you can’t do something. If your arms were a bit longer you would be able to reach the keyboard a little bit better, but I think you’d be a great writer with whatever length your arms are.”

Fantastic.

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