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Months-Old Kliff Kingsbury Quote Turns Heads as Cardinals Name Him New Coach

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The bright side of being named head coach of the worst team in the NFL is you get the No. 1 pick in the draft.

That’s the position the Arizona Cardinals new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, finds himself in as he takes the reins in Arizona.

Like a kid in a candy store, Kingsbury and GM Steve Keim get to pick whoever they want and start to rebuild the team as they see fit.

Which brings us to something Kingsbury said back in October, when he was coaching Texas Tech. He said if he had the first pick in the draft, he’d take Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray.

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“Kyler is a freak,” Kingsbury said in an interview 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.”

Of course, he had no idea at the time that he’d be a head coach in the NFL, let alone the head coach of the team with the No. 1 pick.

“I know he’s signed up to play baseball, but he is a dominant football player and I would pick him with the first pick,” Kingsbury said.

This raises some interesting questions, particularly now that it looks like Murray might pursue a career in the NFL over MLB.

Murray was selected with the ninth pick in the MLB draft last year by the Oakland As. He signed a deal with the team and is expected to report to spring training in February.

But the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that Murray is expected to declare his eligibility for the NFL draft in April.

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A source told the Chronicle that Murray is leaning toward a career in football, which means he would likely turn down the A’s signing bonus, but that is not confirmed.

The Chronicle updated its report to quote a source as saying Oakland “might consider allowing Murray to go the combine.”

Do you think the Cardinals should draft Murray and trade Rosen?

So if Murray does decide to go all in on football, would the Cardinals take him at No. 1? They drafted their franchise quarterback last year in Josh Rosen at No. 10, but that was obviously before Kingsbury got there.

There’s been talk that the Cardinals could trade Rosen, possibly to the New York Giants, in order to make Murray their franchise quarterback.

Time will tell, but a source told the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the idea is “ludicrous” and “not happening.”

Many mock drafts have the Cardinals taking Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa with the No. 1 pick.

Murray hasn’t shown up on many mock draft boards since it wasn’t clear that he would make himself available for the NFL. But if he does indeed decide to go all in on football, some pundits project him to be a first-rounder and the third-best quarterback in the draft behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock.

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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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