INDIANAPOLIS — Dwayne Haskins isn't worried about Oklahoma Heisman winner Kyler Murray and being the first quarterback selected in April isn't important, he told reporters Friday at the scouting combine.
"I have to worry about me," Haskins said. "I’m going to do what I need to do in meetings and out on the field tomorrow to showcase my talents. I know I’m a franchise quarterback and can be a really great quarterback in the NFL."
And Murray isn't second-guessing his decision to forego his baseball career and pursue football after seeing Bryce Harper sign the largest player contract in professional sports history earlier in the week: 13 years, $330 million, every penny of it guaranteed.
"Everyone makes a big deal of him making $300 million," Murray said. "There are quarterbacks making more per year than him."
That bizarre take might not quell the concerns of some regarding Murray's advisors, including his dad, the way his weigh-in did earlier in the week. But Murray continued to reaffirm his love of football and explain the pride he has as a short quarterback.
"I take pride in being a 5-10 quarterback," Murray said after his media session on Sirius XM's Moving the Chains. "Everybody said you can’t do this, you can’t do that. ... My height has nothing to do with it. At the end of the day, I can put the ball in the end zone — and that’s my job."
Murray, who echoed Haskins' message that where he's drafted doesn't matter to him, might have more questions to answer about his commitment and size, but the two are on a nearly level playing field as rare one-year college starters jockeying to be selected first at the position, if not first overall in the draft.
Murray, who transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma but had to wait two years — or one more than he initially expected — behind Baker Mayfield before he got his starting shot, spun that as a positive as far as his passion for the game.
"At the end of the day, it’s gotta be in you," Murray said. "To sit out two years … You gotta love the game to continue to be locked in when you sit for two years."
He also explained how baseball, "a game of failure," taught him how to respond to adversity and how it has helped him handle the spotlight, even if he tries to "keep it low-key as possible."
Murray isn't expecting to sit again anytime soon, we'd imagine, but did say he would be comfortable in Kliff Kingsbury's Arizona Cardinals offense. They, of course, hold the first overall pick and provided only a tepid endorsement publicly this week of last year's top pick, Josh Rosen. Murray said that it would be "cool" to be drafted first overall.
Haskins, who grew up in New Jersey, was asked about potentially playing for the New York Giants, who will bring back Eli Manning but could be in prime position to find his successor with the sixth overall pick.
Haskins said it would be a "dream come true" becoming the quarterback of the team he grew up rooting for and that it could be a "prolific" situation alongside Rookie of the Year Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham and Co. Haskins also pointed to the experience of sitting behind J.T. Barrett for two seasons when asked whether he'd be OK starting out as Manning's backup.
While Murray won't participate in any of the QB drills at the combine, Haskins intends to throw and says his goal in interviews and meetings will be showing teams his football intelligence and and ability to handle an NFL playbook. He said he's already met with — and impressed through his whiteboard work — the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints.
"I feel like I’m a top quarterback," Haskins said. "I just have to do what I do. I’m not trying to spin it. It speaks for itself."
Of the possibility of going 1-2 (in whatever order) with teammate Nick Bosa, Haskins said: "I talked with Nick yesterday. He said I could go first and he’d go second."
As for Murray, he's certainly confident in his own abilities and seems anxious to put the size questions to bed for good.
"Like I’ve said, that’s normal to me," he said. "I feel like I’m the best player on the field at all times; I feel like I’m the most impactful player.
"I feel like if I was 6-3, it’d be too easy."
In fairness to the 5-10 1/8 Murray and 6-3 Haskins, both made it look easy on the field during their respective 54 combined touchdown 2018 campaigns. And the compelling cases each made Friday seems likely to make the decision for QB-needy teams that much harder.