The Broncos should send Kyler Murray a thank-you note Wednesday, but not a Valentine’s card Thursday.
Murray’s decision to pursue a career in the NFL was celebrated Tuesday at Dove Valley.
But, not for the reason that misguided minds might muse.
The Broncos will not draft Murray. However, some fervent franchise will grab the Oklahoma quarterback-A’s outfielder early in the first round. That choice actually will benefit the Broncos at No. 10 and improve their chances of selecting a Mile High-quality back — quarterback Drew Lock, cornerback Greedy Williams or inside linebacker Devin White.
Quarterbacks who have been Heisman Trophy recipients — especially one who is 5-foot-10 — rarely succeed on the professional level.
Of the previous 34 Heisman QBs, only two have won Super Bowls.
The vast majority were busts. The adjudicators still are uncertain on a few.
The game and the position don’t usually translate in transition.
Citing some names of washouts: Davey O’Brien, Angelo Bertelli, Nile Kinnick, Terry Baker, Johnny Lujack, John Huarte, Gary Beban, Pat Sullivan, Andre Ware, Ty Detmer, Gino Torretta, Danny Wuerffel, Chris Weinke, Eric Crouch, Jason White, Matt Leinart, Troy Smith, Robert Griffin III, and Johnny Manziel. Ugh.
They barely spit a drop in the NFL. Charlie Ward chose the NBA, knowing he wouldn’t become a special pro quarterback. Steve Spurrier is a Hall of Fame coach, but, mostly, was a career backup and once got cut by the Broncos. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston are starters, but haven’t reached star status, and probably never will.
Paul Hornung was a Hall of Famer, but as a running back. I’ll give you Vinny Testaverde, although he was a journeyman for 21 seasons.
Doug Flutie, about Murray’s size, finally started briefly in the NFL when he was 36.
Carson Palmer had a good, but not great, career. Make of Sam Bradford what you will.
Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield produced outstanding rookie seasons. Who knows their future?
The real eminent Heisman achievers have been Roger Staubach, Jim Plunkett and Cam Newton.
Then, there was Tim Tebow, who needs no introduction in Colorado.
The probability of a Heisman quarterback being an annual All-Pro is about 12 percent.
Murray may be Mayfield or Mariota, but he could be a Kinnick or the next RG3. I don’t trust Murray because of his height and weight, the Sooners’ offensive prowess in a conference that is defensively challenged, the fact that he was a starter for just one season, and he’ll have to play in a full-time shotgun offense so he can see over his own linemen. And running quarterbacks must soon adjust, as proven historically.
Perhaps a half-dozen teams — the Broncos among them — need a quarterback in the worst way, and that’s what they may get — one in the worst way. Mother Hubbard hasn’t fully stocked the cupboard.
Murray did the Broncos a favor. Washington and Miami will attempt to trade ahead of the Broncos in the draft, and Jacksonville likely will go full bore on Nick Foles. The Giants are inclined to draft Dwayne Haskins.
The Broncos can choose Lock, who John Elway has followed closely from Columbia, Mo., to Mobile, Ala., and will spend time with at the NFL Combine. John likes Drew. The Boss has been silent on Duke’s Daniel Jones. Peyton, Eli and Cooper Manning admire his game, but does the Manning Family opinion matter to the Giants or the Broncos? The Broncos could pick from the Will Griers, Kyle Shurmurs Clayton Thorsons of the world in a later round, although the latter two are from Vanderbilt and Northwestern. How did QBs from those schools work out here?
Yet, based on my lengthy conversation with coach Vic Fangio last week, I have a gut feeling he’d prefer the Broncos emphasize defensive players in the draft and free agency and provide Mike Munchak an outstanding offensive line. Two reasonably priced secondary players from Fangio’s defense with the Bears are unrestricted free agents, and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley will be available if the Broncos are willing to pay double-digit millions.
Although he also was a dual football-baseball prospect, Elway, as Henry David Thoreau (who wasn’t a scout) and close allies say, hears the beat of a different drummer.
He is not drafting any more 6-foot-7 quarterbacks, or one who is nine inches shorter.