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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

2019 NFL Draft Profile: Kyle Shurmur

Ziyi Liu
Kyle Shurmur as Vanderbilt defeated the MTSU Blue Raiders 47-24 at Vanderbilt Stadium September 10, 2016.

The NFL Draft is only a day away, and we’re taking a look at some of Vanderbilt’s best prospects as the party on Broadway approaches.

Last week, we looked at cornerback Joejuan Williams and his NFL potential. Today, we’re looking at quarterback Kyle Shurmur. Statistically, he’s the best quarterback to ever play at Vanderbilt, but how will that translate into the NFL? While this is a deep draft for quarterbacks, Shurmur’s experience and deep knowledge of the game could see him through to the next level.

Here’s a complete breakdown of Shurmur’s draft potential:

By The Numbers (2018)

  • 62.6% completion percentage, 6th in SEC
  • 3,130 pass yards, 5th in SEC
  • 7.7 yards per attempt, 7th in SEC
  • 24 touchdowns, 5th in SEC
  • interceptions, 8th in SEC
  • 143.9 passer rating, 6th in SEC


Height: 6’4”

Shurmur is one of the tallest quarterbacks in the 2019 Draft. Only three of the other quarterbacks invited to the NFL Combine came in taller than him: Duke’s Daniel Jones (6’5”), Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald (6’5”) and Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson (6’7”). While shorter quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Baker Mayfield have become stellar NFL quarterbacks, the prototypical NFL signal caller still has height like Shurmur. Plus, because Shurmur’s comfort level is higher in the pocket, that height is necessary for him to succeed in his role.

Weight: 230 lbs.

He has one of the biggest frames of any quarterback in the draft. Only 231-pound Dwayne Haskins and 249-pound Tyree Jackson are bigger than Shurmur. That weight can provide him sturdiness with his big frame, allow him to withstand bigger impacts and give him greater strength to move the ball downfield.

40-Yard Dash: 4.91 seconds (NFL Combine)

Shurmur has never been a quarterback known for his mobility, and as a pure pocket passer, his speed is not what makes him great. While a 4.91 40-yard dash time isn’t anything to write home about, it’s a solid time for a player with his skill set. For example, Dwayne Haskins is a similar pocket passer, yet he ran a 5.04 at the Combine. Realistically, Shurmur’s combine time would only be a real factor in his draft stock if it were particularly awful, and the time he ran is anything but that.

Impact at Vanderbilt

Ziyi Liu

It’s not hard to quantify Shurmur’s profound impact at Vanderbilt, as he is statistically the greatest Commodore quarterback of all time. Shurmur is the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes, pass attempts and passing yards, and is one of just two Vanderbilt quarterbacks ever to start in two different bowl games (Larry Smith started the 2008 Music City Bowl and 2011 Liberty Bowl).

Shurmur came in as a freshman during Head Coach Derek Mason’s second season, and he solidified himself as Vanderbilt’s starter about halfway through his freshman year. While Mason was trying to establish his culture and rebuild a program that had been burned in the wake of James Franklin’s departure, Shurmur’s consistency and leadership provided the stability Mason needed to be successful.

“He was a green true freshman in the midst of a very difficult transition from a coach that had unprecedented success for a couple of years to a new head coach who had never been a head coach before,” former Vanderbilt Quarterback Jordan Rodgers told The Vanderbilt Hustler in the fall. “He was teaching the guys around him as he was learning himself how to be a winner with a coach that, admittedly early in his career, was still learning how to be a head coach. I think that goes a long way for Kyle’s legacy, that transition and getting this team back to the position of being able to go to another bowl game.”

While at Vanderbilt, Shurmur had the opportunity to shine on some big stages and show that he has the “clutch gene.” He helped the team to a couple of overtime wins in his career, including a home OT win over Ole Miss to keep Vanderbilt’s 2018 bowl hopes alive. He also nearly engineered a late upset bid against Notre Dame in South Bend last season, but came up just short in the final minutes.

What Sets Him Apart?

The 2019 NFL Draft is an extremely crowded one for quarterbacks. There are plenty of tall pocket passers that would fit very well in lots of NFL systems. However, Shurmur has a couple of traits that make him stand out from the rest: his experience and his IQ.

There are very few quarterbacks that can say they were four-year starters in the SEC. Fellow 2019 Draft prospect Nick Fitzgerald was also basically a four-year starter at Mississippi State, but beyond that, Shurmur’s level of experience is something that will benefit him when scouts study him. With four years of starting experience in perhaps the best football conference in the country, he has undergone a trial-by-fire that has forced him to develop much faster than other quarterbacks might have developed in other conferences and in other situations.

Shurmur’s experience as a starter has allowed him to learn more, correct mistakes, understand defenses and systems, and get himself more NFL-ready. There’s no substitute for experience, and Shurmur has plenty of it.

“I think when you look at completion percentage and that kind of thing, you can tell he has become more accurate,” Vanderbilt Offensive Coordinator Gerry Gdowski said. “Just his footwork over his career in the pocket improved a lot. Just his confidence too. At that position, so much of it is just how confident you are when you step up to the line of scrimmage and I think from that standpoint he grew a lot over his time here.”

Ziyi Liu

On top of that, Shurmur has demonstrated a remarkable football IQ. A lot of that developed in him because he got to learn from the quarterbacks that his father, Pat Shurmur, was coaching in his various roles over the years. He got to learn from Donovan McNabb and Sam Bradford, among others. Beyond getting an understanding of the game, learning from high-level professionals like them can also give him an idea of what it takes to make it at the NFL level.

“It would be hard to pinpoint any one thing, but anytime you can be around those type of guys and watch them work and see how they approach the game and all that to be able to just see that and learn from that I think has got to be helpful,” Gdowski said.

Off the field, Shurmur would also prove to be a great teammate and a positive force in any NFL locker room. The way his teammates talked about him at the end of his senior season demonstrated how much he was loved and respected in the Vanderbilt locker room, and how much he could influence a professional locker room.

His humility, ambition and willingness to learn could make him a very solid team player in the NFL.

“I think he’s a guy you want in a locker room,” Gdowski said. “Just his approach to the game and his knowledge of the game, he’s going to do everything right. That’s just the type of person that he is. You tell him this is how you want it done, and he’s going to do everything in his power to do it that way. Get him in the locker room, and he’s going to be a positive force in there and work hard and do all of those things.”

NFL Comparison: Eli Manning

While it’s a massive stretch to try and compare Manning’s potential Hall of Fame resume with Shurmur’s Vanderbilt resume, the two quarterbacks have some things in common.

Shurmur is narrowly taller and weighs a bit more than Manning, and they both thrive as pocket passers. Both Shurmur and Manning come from notable football families, which gives them both remarkable football IQs. They can make reads on the fly and are notorious game managers. Both quarterbacks thrive in systems that don’t require them to rely on their legs to make things happen. If their offensive lines can keep them upright and in the pocket, good things can happen.

However, Manning has shown the ability to be somewhat elusive throughout his career, so if Shurmur can develop a little bit of that in his footwork, as well as avoid Manning’s propensity for interceptions, he could become an NFL player in the Manning mold (even if he doesn’t get the Manning career stats).

Who’s Interested?

Ziyi Liu
Kyle Shurmur (14) as Vanderbilt lost against the South Carolina Gamecocks 13-10 at Vanderbilt Stadium September 1, 2016. Photo by Ziyi Liu.

There’s not a lot of information available regarding Shurmur’s visits or workouts with NFL teams, but there are certainly plenty of teams out there that currently have just one or two bona fide NFL quarterbacks on the roster and will be in need of a third string/developmental quarterback. Some of those teams include some of the teams that Pat Shurmur has coached, such as the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. The Denver Broncos are another team that could potentially be in need of a developmental quarterback.

Here is a roundup of some of the projections for Shurmur:

  • The Athletic’s Dane Brugler: Priority Free Agent
  • Round 7-PFA
  • Walter Football: Rounds 4-6
  • FanSided NFL Mocks: PFA
  • Dynasty Football Factory: Late Rounds

Cutler’s Prediction

Minnesota Vikings (Round Seven, Pick 247)

There are a multitude of factors that make the Vikings a reasonable landing spot for Shurmur, aside from his father’s ties to the organization as a former offensive coordinator. First, the team has two sixth-round picks and two seventh-round picks. Many times, teams might not want to use a pick on a late-round quarterback when there are so many other positions that require more depth, but with so many picks in the final two rounds, Minnesota could afford to bring in a quarterback like Shurmur. Plus, with only a couple of legitimate NFL quarterbacks on the roster now in Kirk Cousins and Sean Mannion, the Vikings could take Shurmur and work to develop him alongside 25-year-old journeyman Kyle Sloter.

Stay tuned for live coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft from downtown Nashville.

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About the Contributors
Cutler Klein
Cutler Klein, Former Sports Editor
Cutler Klein ('19) was the Sports Editor of the Vanderbilt Hustler. He previously served as Assistant Sports Editor. He majored in communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When he's not writing stories, tweeting silly GIFs or watching any hockey game he can find, Cutler is running the sports department of VandyRadio, hosting VU Sports Wired on VTV and covering the Nashville Predators as a credentialed media member for Penalty Box Radio. Cutler has had bylines on and
Ziyi Liu, Author
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