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Per reports, the Oakland Athletics are preparing for Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. In saying that, a past interview with newly hired Arizona Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury notes the following:
There are a variety of arguments that force us to speculate whether Murray would be worth the #1 selection of the upcoming draft, but here are 3 reasons why he will not be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals:
1. Josh Rosen is still valuable enough to start in 2019
On paper, the Arizona Cardinals contained the worst offense in the NFL last season. This was a franchise that ranked 32nd in points, passing, and rushing in 2018. In saying that, rookie Josh Rosen was put in a position to fail.
Initially, most expected for Sam Bradford to play out the 2018 season. He was signed to a 2-year, $20M deal with an option in 2019. After failing in Mike McCoy’s system, Bradford was released just 3 weeks into the season.
Rosen finished out the year with 2,278 yards, 11 TD, and 14 INT. Those numbers are worrisome, but how many rookies have we seen struggle when thrown into the fire unexpectedly? Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff and Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz are just a few examples, and both represent teams that are moving into the Divisional round of the postseason. (Note: Nick Foles is the current starter in Philadelphia, but Carson Wentz is still considered the future)
Before calling it quits on Josh Rosen, how about we fix the system around him? The team is seeking out a new offensive coordinator currently, and the offensive line allowed 3.2 sacks per game last year, the 7th-most in the NFL.
2. Kyler Murray isn’t the best QB prospect on the board
Even if Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals wanted to move on from Josh Rosen, why select someone who may not even be drafted in the top 10?
Personally, I believe Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins will be a higher priority than Kyler Murray, and a case could be made to select Missouri’s Drew Lock above Murray as well.
Sure, an argument could be made that Baker Mayfield wasn’t the #1 prospect at this time last year, but the Cleveland Browns gambled on him anyways. However, Mayfield is listed 2 inches taller at 6’1″, which is still undersized for a stereotypical quarterback.
The Cardinals have a variety of other roster issues to address, and the quarterback position isn’t an immediate one. The Giants will look into Haskins at #6, and outside of that, the only other teams that may seek out a quarterback in the 1st round are Jacksonville (#7), Denver (#10), and Washington (#15).
3. Circumstances in Kingsbury’s statement are far different
The only reason this is true speculation is due to Kingsbury’s statement in October. At the time, Kingsbury had no business in the NFL, and was not contemplating an NFL head coaching career.
Would it be fun to see Kingsbury and Murray represent the same franchise? Sure, but it’s impractical. Nearly 3 months have passed since Kingsbury made his statement, and through research and scouting, the Arizona Cardinals will come to realize they are not in need of a quarterback.
Instead, we should be speculating on whether the aforementioned quarterback-needy franchises would be willing to trade up in order to grab themselves a prospect. This quarterback class is thin at best, but Kyler Murray has no business being the #1 pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
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