The 2019 NFL Draft is two and a half months away, but Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray has injected drama into the top pick. The Heisman Trophy winner and 2018 MLB first-rounder declared for the NFL Draft, but there were questions as to whether he would commit to baseball or football.
This week, Murray declared he would focus on football, and hired an agent. And it just so happens his agent also represents new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. This is of note because back in October while still at Texas Tech, Kingsbury was effusive in his praise for Murray, saying he would draft him with the No. 1 pick if he could.
Kingsbury is not the Cardinals general manager, but given that he was brought in for his offensive mind, speculation is running rampant that the Cardinals will consider Murray with the No. 1 pick and trade last year’s first-round pick, Josh Rosen. Rosen’s struggles as a rookie — he completed just 55.2 percent of his passes and threw 11 touchdowns to 14 interceptions — only adds fuel to the fire.
On Tuesday, Kingsbury acknowledged the talk about Murray, but said that, “Josh is our guy.” The organization’s social media team doubled down on that by tweeting out this graphic.
Y’all are having fun with speculation, but... pic.twitter.com/dy4NbJ82iB— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) February 12, 2019
No team tweet about a player has ever come back to bite them, so clearly we can ignore this...........
Which team is the currently the favorite to draft Murray?
Oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag have installed the Dolphins as a 3/2 favorite to draft Murray. The Cardinals are tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants for second-best odds at 5/1. The Oakland Raiders are 6/1, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington at 12/1, and the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cincinnati Bengals at 14/1.
More importantly, Murray is currently getting the third-best odds to be the No. 1 overall pick at 4/1. Nick Bosa is the heavy favorite at 1/2, followed by Quinnen Williams at 3/1. Nobody else is close.
It would take a pretty bold decision by Cardinals GM Steve Keim to draft Murray and trade Rosen. He traded a third- and fifth-round pick to move up five spots in the first round to draft Rosen just last year. Young quarterbacks are valuable, but he would likely be selling Rosen for 75 or 80 cents on the dollar at best. If you see a quarterback you like, you go get him, but the heat would be on Keim if he spent the No. 1 overall pick on a quarterback a year after trading up to use a top-10 pick on the position.
The Cardinals could make the simple decision to continue with Rosen and draft either Bosa or Williams to serve as a defensive cornerstone. They also could decide that Murray really is the best option by a long shot. It’s possible Kingsbury and Keim have actually decided they are firmly sticking with Rosen, but I have a feeling the Cardinals social media team is not privy to those discussions.
The Cardinals will get their retweets and engagement from that tweet, but I don’t think anybody would be surprised if this situation changed in a hurry.