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.”
Kliff Kingsbury with some high praise for OU QB Kyler Murray:
“Kyler is a freak…..I would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could.” pic.twitter.com/aYYamjMu7o
— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) October 28, 2018
Fast forward to April 25 and he will have the No. 1 pick for Arizona. That quote now takes on added significance.
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.
Here’s the full exchange with #AZCardinals GM Steve Keim.
-1st question was “are you going to support Josh Rosen or pursue Kyler Murray?” -followed up with “is Josh Rosen your quarterback?” #12Sports #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/qATbW1rTo8
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) February 27, 2019
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.
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.
This morning, Cardinals GM Steve Keim said Josh Rosen is the team’s quarterback “for now.”
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) February 27, 2019
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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