The A's expect Heisman Trophy victor Kyler Murray, the team's top pick last June, to declare for the National Football League draft on Sunday, multiple sources told The Chronicle on Wednesday. That, in and of itself, doesn't mean he's made the decision to reject Oakland's $4.66 million baseball offer. But with a new head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, who has spoken glowingly of Murray in the past, it's not completely impossible that he would make a push to hand-pick a quarterback to fit his offense. The real decision date lies in February when he'll have to choose between reporting to the Athletics preseason activities or heading to the National Football League combine. That sort of indecision isn't something you want out of your highly compensated first round selection. One G.M. said he hadn't even studied Murray's film, given the then-prevailing belief (as fueled by his baseball agent) that Murray would choose the hide of a horse over the skin of a pig. As the college football season progressed, his stock steadily rose with NFL scouts.
After his team lost to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal, Murray was mum about his future.
Murray was selected No. 9 overall by Oakland in last year's draft but returned to Oklahoma for his Junior season, where he won the Heisman after tossing 42 touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions. The Texas native batted.296 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, a.954 OPS and 10 stolen bases for the Sooners baseball team, which led to him becoming a top-10 pick.