INDIANAPOLIS — If there is a singular theme of the NFL Combine this year, it is the skyrocketing momentum of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
He started the week measuring at just over 5’10, even though many in the NFL didn’t really care about that in the first place. That immediately led to speculation about Murray being the top pick in the draft. Now, the speculation just won’t stop.
“In terms of Murray, people are beginning to believe almost universally he will indeed be the No. 1 pick in this draft by the Arizona Cardinals,” reporter Kim Jones said on NFL Network on Saturday. “In fact, teams picking in the top 10 believe they’ll have no chance of drafting Murray. He’s not the biggest quarterback in the world, but he is a very big presence at this combine.”
That presence was squarely felt during Murray’s media session on Friday. No player has demanded a larger crowd than the Heisman Trophy winner.
Kyler Murray could crowd surf if he wanted to right now. pic.twitter.com/5RloMycF7A— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 1, 2019
During his media session, Murray was assured and confident. He shrugged off questions about his size with ease and maybe some cockiness.
“I’m always the smallest guy on the field,” Murray said. “I’ve said it multiple times: I feel like I’m the most impactful guy on the field. I’m the best player on the field at all times. I’ve always had to play at this height.”
Murray assured everyone he wouldn’t go back on his decision to play football instead of baseball. He even addressed Bryce Harper and his astronomical $330 million contract.
“Everyone makes a big deal of him making $300 million. There’s quarterbacks making more per year than him,” Murray said (and was right about).
But perhaps the most intriguing part of Murray’s media session was that he was interviewing with the Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury. While he was at Texas Tech, Kingsbury was hot after Murray on the recruiting trail. In October, he remarked that he would take Murray with the first pick in the draft. The two even share the same agent in Erik Burkhardt.
“Coach Kingsbury, I know the type of offense he runs. He recruited me out of high school and I have a great relationship with him,” Murray said. “If I were to play under him, I think it’d be a great deal. But I don’t get to pick players. I just show up and do what I’m supposed to do. I’d obviously be very comfortable knowing how he operates that offense, what we look for, and how to operate everything ... me and him being together would be nice.”
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim did nothing to quiet the speculation earlier in the week. He said current quarterback Josh Rosen is the team’s quarterback “right now.” The Cardinals’ official website doesn’t know what’s going on either. Rosen got in the act too. Photos with him and the Cardinals disappeared from his Instagram account, and he claimed to be hacked.
I didn’t delete my cardinals photos. They deleted every photo from the last two years except the most recent two..— Josh Rosen (@josh3rosen) March 1, 2019
There are two things potentially at play here. One is that the Cardinals—Keim, Kingsburgy and Rosen—are fooling us all and laying the most elaborate smokescreen in recent draft history. Or, maybe more likely, the Cardinals are moving toward taking Murray with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.