Someone will look at Kyler Murray and see a franchise quarterback.
The Giants, given their redwood quarterback history, will undoubtedly look at Kyler Murray and see a 5-foot-9 Doug Flutie.
Different strokes for different folks and all that, and the lurking shadow of Major League Baseball over Murray will not go away for some NFL teams.
But given their urgency to find a successor to Eli Manning, the last thing the Giants should do is automatically sell Kyler Murray short without taking a longer look at him.
“I think that teams are starting to get burned by retaining their old-school values when it comes to player evaluation,” Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt told The Post. “I just think that the old-school mindset has to adjust because the NFL has adjusted it for them. I understand why someone would think that way. I just disagree with it.”
Klatt was in the booth for four of Murray’s games at Oklahoma this season and has observed him up close and personal at practice.
“It’s never been a better time for a player like Kyler to come into the NFL,” Klatt said. “It used to be about height and arm strength. Now it’s about I think your ability to be a point guard … can you get the ball on target and on time? If you start your evaluation there, no one was better than Kyler in college football.”
For the Giants, it has been more about height and arm strength — Dwayne Haskins Jr. fits their prototype — and a financial and emotional attachment to 38-year-old Eli Manning.
Haskins, who stands 6-3, is QB1 in this draft. If Haskins is not on the board, Klatt said he believes general manager Dave Gettleman would be making a mistake passing on Murray with the sixth pick.
“No question,” Klatt said. “100 percent.”
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Murray is an inch shorter than Russell Wilson and two inches shorter than Drew Brees. For the Giants, quarterback is a game of inches. And if they didn’t have a conviction on Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Josh Rosen last year, will they have one on Haskins or Murray now? Of course, there is no Saquon Barkley for them to fall in love with this time either.
“This is not a popular opinion because of the sensational person, the player that they drafted last year, but I thought that they made a mistake last year,” Klatt said. “The quarterback is what’s gonna impact the win and loss column. Saquon is phenomenal, but he’s not gonna take the Giants to the next level unless he’s got a quality quarterback. If they don’t do it this year, I think that they’re making another big mistake.
“And candidly, I don’t quite understand why you would take someone off the board via height in particularly today’s NFL. If they aren’t looking at one of these two players, they’re looking in the wrong spot.”
Klatt recalls Baker Mayfield, the 2017 Oklahoma Heisman winner, telling him that Murray, the 2018 Heisman winner, would effortlessly follow in his footsteps following a 43-0 record at Allen High School (Texas).
“He is one of the better passers in this draft, if not the best passer in the draft as far as accuracy, accuracy down the field, the lack of attempts that he gets batted down at the line of scrimmage,” Klatt said. “His ability to put the ball into tight windows, I think it’s the best of anybody in the draft.
“Michael Vick will come up just because of their raw ability to run the football. There has never been a quarterback as dynamic carrying the football entering the league. This guy is as dynamic as some of the best running backs that we’ve ever seen enter the draft when you’re talking about the ability in the open field to use their feet. He’s a much more dynamic runner than Lamar Jackson was and I think he’s even more dynamic than Michael Vick was.”
“It looked like a normal scramble around the left side, there were two or three defenders that had the pursuit angle on Kyler, and he beat them to the corner, turned up the sideline and ran for a touchdown,” Klatt said. “I was shocked. I had no idea what to think, I’d never see anything quite like that.”
Murray, who is listed at 194 pounds, is adept at avoiding big hits.
“If you look at the tape, and I did this several times over, and you watch for how many times he actually gets hit, there are players that have the unique ability to avoid what I would call devastating contact, and he’s one of ’em, whether he’s outside of the pocket or inside the pocket,” Klatt said. “So because of that, I don’t think that his frame is as big of a concern, at least certainly not for me.”
Murray is not as brash and boisterous as Mayfield — who is? — but oozes a quiet and infectious confidence.
“What I thought went unnoticed throughout the season it’s that he is hyper-competitive,” Klatt said.
Asked what kind of leader he is, Klatt said: “His teammates loved him.”
His Bills teammates grew to love Flutie for a short time in 1999 … after the Miracle Man was forced to toil for eight years in the CFL.
“The biggest problem with a lot of short quarterbacks is they don’t have the arm strength. [Murray] does. He can make all the throws,” Flutie told TMZ last month. “He can throw from all kinds of angles. We see that with [Patrick] Mahomes and you’ll have the same thing with Kyler Murray.”
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Klatt was in the booth for Oklahoma’s game against Texas.
The team that drafts Murray will have to adapt its system to him and for him much more dramatically than it would for Haskins.
“I think [Haskins has] a higher upside than maybe Kyler, but I think Kyler’s probably more suited to have success early in his career at the next level,” Klatt said. “I think Dwayne will probably be really well-served to go in and potentially sit for a year.”
Klatt, like Murray, played baseball (in the minors) before leaving Colorado as an all-Big 12 quarterback and trying out as a free agent with the Lions and Saints in 2006.
“There was never a moment that was ever too big for Kyler,” Klatt said. “The lights were never too bright for him. I think he always remained calm. I think that he can have success in any market in the National Football League.
“If I’m looking at it from just the dynamic ability of offensive players on the field, can you imagine having Kyler Murray and Saquon Barkley on the field at the same time? Are you kidding me? Who are you defending?”
Until further review, The Improbable Dream. If not The Impossible Dream. But it sure is a fun one.