There’s a very good chance it’s simply old school posturing by the Cardinals, but just three days away from the 2019 NFL Draft there has been a small shift in the consensus regarding Arizona and top quarterback Kyler Murray.
“Initially the [Arizona] ownership pushed for Kyler Murray,” CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco said. “That much I know. I was told that. The reason they did is that they were having a hard time selling tickets. They put it out there. Arizona was lukewarm to it so now all of a sudden they’re pulling back, from what I’ve been told. They’re going in a different direction. They’re not going to draft Kyler Murray.”
NBC Sports’ Peter King also recently said he now has his doubts that Murray will be playing under new Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
If the Cardinals do pass up on Murray there will be a mad scramble to land him at the top of the draft. If the Giants are smitten with him, they would likely need to trade up from No. 6 considering how much Raiders coach Jon Gruden covets the former Sooners signal-caller.
Here is what The Ringer’s Danny Kelly wrote on Monday about the Giants situation.
“The Giants are next up at No. 6 and have been heavily linked to this year’s quarterback class as the team looks to find its eventual heir to Eli Manning. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, ‘several smart people around the NFL are convinced’ that New York will take one of the consensus top quarterbacks – whether that’s Murray, Haskins, Jones, or Missouri’s Drew Lock. And barring trade-ups the Giants could have multiple options when it’s time to turn in the card with the sixth pick.”
If the Cardinals do indeed put the top overall pick up for grabs on Thursday, keep an eye on the teams with the most draft capital. Including compensatory picks, the Giants and Patriots have the most capital in 2019 with 12 picks. The Bengals have 11 picks.
All three of those teams have varying quarterback questions moving forward.
There was a recent report by Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard that the Patriots “aren’t convinced” Tom Brady will play past this coming season. New England is clearly thinking about its future under center as they nearly traded away half their draft capital last year in order to move up and draft Baker Mayfield, according to multiple reports.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was said to have been infatuated with Mayfield, another undersized former Oklahoma quarterback. Could the Patriots push harder this time around now that Brady is another year older?
As mentioned above, the Bengals are also a team with plenty of draft capital to throw around. They also have the 11th overall pick, which is an excellent spot for one of these teams in the 1-6 range to fall back to if they think some of the top guys on the board are a little overrated.
And one more team to watch is the Redskins, who have nine picks in the 2019 draft. The Redskins look like they’re going with a patchwork approach over full rebuild as they’re running it back with Jay Gruden. But if Gruden is anything like his brother in Oakland, he will surely look at dipping his toes into the Murray market.