OPINION: The Arizona Cardinals will select Kyler Murray with the first pick in the NFL Draft

By on April 9, 2019

The Arizona Cardinals say that they have no clue who they will take in the NFL Draft, but they do. They will select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

I am confident the Cardinals will select Murray because of what American sports writer and television analyst of CBS Sports Jason La Canfora said on March 7.

“It’s the worst kept secret in the history of the world,” Canfora said. “I am thoroughly convinced they are taking Kyler Murray first overall. People close to Kyler Murray are thoroughly convinced they are taking Kyler Murray first overall.”

The Cardinals drafting Murray with the first pick would not be a surprise to me because of the comments newly hired Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury made this past October while he was the head coach at Texas Tech.

“I’d take him with the first pick in the draft, if I could,” Kingsbury told the communications staffers at Texas Tech. “I know he’d signed up to play baseball, but he’s a dominant football player.”

Murray had a phenomenal junior season at Oklahoma this past year, where he won the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the best player in College Football. He completed 69 percent of his passes, throwing 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Unlike most quarterbacks, Murray is dangerous because of his ability to run the ball. He had 140 rush attempts for 1001 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground this season.

Murray is exactly what Kingsbury is looking for in a quarterback. Sports anchor and reporter for 12 News in Arizona,  Cameron Cox tweeted on March 1 that Murray said he would be “very comfortable” playing for Kingsbury.

It would be an easy transition for Murray if he is selected by the Cardinals, as he ran a similar system when he played under Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley.

Kingsbury had the most success in his college coaching career when he had current Kansas Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech.

Mahomes threw for 93 touchdowns and 29 interceptions, completing 63.5 percent of his passes in three years at Texas Tech with Kingsbury.

FanSided writer Conor Myles stated why Mahomes was successful in his first year as a starter with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid this past year.

“Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, incorporates plays from Mahomes’ Texas Tech days into his system as spread concepts,” Myles said. “The 23-year-old has proven how the NFL is shifting into a more college-type passing system and how successful it can be.”

I see Kingsbury and Murray working well together because of how close their relationship is, since Kingsbury was recruiting Murray back when he was in high school.

“He’s always been very fond of me and I respect that, and I’ve never taken that for granted,” Murray said to reporters. “He’s always someone I could go to if I needed anything. It’d be fun.”

I also see the Cardinals drafting Murray because of what Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt reported on Undisputed on March 27.

“There are three teams that I have heard and I know are very interested in Josh Rosen: New England, New York Giants and the LA Chargers,” Klatt said. “One of those have already offered a second round pick. Arizona is waiting for a first. I don’t think they’ll get it.”

I don’t think the Cardinals are confident in Rosen being their future quarterback because they are willing to trade him if they get offered a first round pick from a team.

Even though the Cardinals are getting trade offers for Rosen, it seems like they are considering keeping him even if they select Murray, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“The Cardinals could in fact keep both quarterbacks until they decide not to,” Rapoport said on Wednesday. “They’re not going to give Josh Rosen away. When they’ve compared Rosen to other quarterbacks in this draft, besides Kyler Murray, they think Rosen’s better anyway.”

The Cardinals might want to keep Rosen because they traded up to the No.10 pick in the NFL draft last year to take him. By trading Rosen, they would be acknowledging that they made a mistake in drafting him.

If the Cardinals keep Rosen and draft Murray, then the two will likely compete for the starting job in the preseason.

I don’t see Rosen as a good fit with Kingsbury. He threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for 2,278 yards in his rookie year, in which he got sacked 45 times. This is because of the poor offensive line and because Rosen doesn’t have the ability to escape out of the pocket when the pressure gets to him. Murray has the ability to make up for the Cardinals poor offensive line because of his ability to run the ball effectively.

Rosen only had 23 rush attempts for 138 yards in the 2018 season. Kingsbury needs a quarterback who is a dual threat since he wants to run plays that involve the read and pass-run options. I think Rosen would have a hard time adjusting because he has no past experience running a system like Kingsbury’s.

If the Cardinals don’t draft Murray, then they will likely select Ohio State’s defensive end Nick Bosa, who many believe is the best player in the 2019 draft class.

Kingsbury will have to adjust to Rosen’s style if general manager Steve Keim decides to pass on Murray.

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