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How the Cardinals' GM Put the Entire Draft in Limbo with 2 Words

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The Arizona Cardinals have the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL draft, and there’s been speculation that they might be interested in Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma.

It stems from comments new Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury made last October, when he was still coaching at Texas Tech.

“Kyler is a freak,” Kingsbury said at the Red Raiders practice facility. “I’ve followed him since he was a sophomore in high school, and I just think the world of him and what he can do on the football field.

“I’ve never seen one better in high school, and he’s starting to show it now at the college level. I don’t have enough good things to say about him — he’s phenomenal. I’ve never seen him have a poor outing — not one. …

“I’d take him with the first pick in the draft if I could.”

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Fast forward to April 25 and he will have the No. 1 pick for Arizona. That quote now takes on added significance.

Do you think the Cardinals should take Murray with the No. 1 pick?

Cardinals GM Steve Keim fanned even more speculation with his comments Wednesday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Keim was asked point blank by a reporter: Are you guys going to support Josh Rosen, or do you plan to pursue Murray? The Cardinals took Rosen with the No. 10 pick in last year’s draft, and he ended the year as the team’s starting quarterback.

Keim started by talking about Kingsbury’s aforementioned comments about Murray while he was at Texas Tech.

“I think what Kliff said (about taking Murray No. 1) was trying to avoid bulletin board material. I think if you’re at Texas Tech, I would have said the same thing about an Oklahoma quarterback,” Keim said Wednesday.

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Then he added: “It’s still early in the process. We haven’t even gone through a full evaluation at all the positions, so it’s too early to say.”

That wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for Rosen.

Keim was then asked more directly: “Is Josh Rosen your quarterback?”

“Is Josh Rosen our quarterback?” Keim said. “Yeah, he is, right now, for sure.”

Those two words — “right now” — did nothing to tamp down speculation that Arizona might go in another direction and take Murray.

Just a few hours earlier, Kingsbury was complimentary toward Rosen.

“We’re big on adapting our offense to our quarterback and our personnel,” Kingsbury told reporters, according to Yahoo Sports. “We’ve had all types in this system. (Rosen is) a tremendous talent. I felt like he got better as the season went on last year. Showed a lot of mental toughness and competitiveness, and so I don’t think it’s a relevant argument.

“The talent is obviously there,” Kingsbury said of Rosen, according to Yahoo Sports. “And I just like the way he fought at the end of the year, facing adverse conditions, never turned it down, continued to get up, continued to fight and compete his tail off until the end.”

But then he also heaped praise on Murray.

“The fascinating thing with Kyler is he is the quickest player on the field, at the quarterback position,” Kingsbury said, reported Yahoo Sports. “His dad is a tremendous kind of quarterback guru in our state, in Texas, and he’s developed him to be a great pocket passer as well. You kind of combine those two things and it’s a lot to handle. He’s a tremendous talent. I’ve thought that since his high school days. Been a big fan, excited to see how this process goes for him.”

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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