AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
- Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is now considered the front-runner to be selected with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
- Murray is a favorite of new Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who had said before he took the job that he’d take the Heisman-winner with the top pick if given the opportunity.
- Still, ESPN’s Todd McShay gave reason to be cautious before declaring Murray would be drafted by the Cardinals, as they could be angling for trade leverage.
With one measurement, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray became the prohibitive favorite to be selected with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
In the days leading up to the combine, much was made out of Murray’s size, with many wondering if he was big enough to play quarterback in the NFL. While some expected him to be shorter, he measured in a hair taller than 5-foot-10, which in the world of NFL scouting, can mean everything.
Once Murray had officially cleared the 5-foot-10 threshold, the Heisman-winners name was immediately tied to the Arizona Cardinals and the top overall pick in the NFL Draft. New Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury had said before he took the job that if he were in a position to do it, he’d take Murray first in the draft.
Still, while some in the NFL world now believe that Murray heading to the Cardinals is essentially a done deal, there are other experts who are not quite sure the decision is set in stone yet.
ESPN’s Todd McShay released his Mock Draft 3.0 on Wednesday, and has projected Murray going to Arizona with the first pick, but also expressed a bit of reservation about going "all-in" on the prediction this early.
"We can’t deny the rumblings here, and we know new coach Kliff Kingsbury recruited Murray in college," McShay writes. "I’m not all-in on Arizona taking him just yet, though — the Cards could be trying to generate trade interest among the QB-needy teams."
This is the ever-frustrating four-dimensional chess game that is taking place between NFL teams with every evaluation and rumor that circulates — Does the team think that, or do they want other teams to think that they think that to elevate their position’s value?
The Cardinals could benefit from trading down in the draft. If another team in need of a quarterback feels like Murray is their player of the future, there is little harm in Arizona kicking the tires on potential trades that could help them acquire more talent. The Cardinals also still have Josh Rosen, whom they selected in the first round of last year’s draft.
Since it is weeks until the Cardinals are officially on the clock, there’s still plenty of time for deals to be made, feelings to change, and different voices in the Arizona front office to be elevated that could affect the final decision the team makes.
Still, there’s a reason that McShay has Murray projected as going to the Cardinals. The buzz could be buzz generated for buzz’s sake, but with Kingsbury’s known praise of Murray, McShay still believes it’s more likely to be real.
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