In case you were buried under a rock and missed the news, the Arizona Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray with the #1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Cardinals twitter account quickly changed their nickname to “#KardsGotKyler” as though they just drafted transcendent player who would guarantee the Cardinals an annual trip to the playoffs.
The reality, this move is like playing your life savings on the lottery. Sure, you might win the big prize, but that doesn’t make the move any less stupid. Kyler Murray might become the GOAT, leading the Cardinals to six of the next ten Super Bowls, just like I might win the lottery with everything I own on it. Again, that would not make the decision to draft Murray smart, just lucky.
To call this move stupid is an understatement, this is colossally stupid, this is “set a franchise back five years” stupid! Why? Well, let’s dissect the move in greater detail.
- It seems obvious that the Cardinals had Murray graded way higher than any other NFL team. There is zero evidence to suggest otherwise. The Cardinals entire strategy was to make it seem like Murray was the pick, then maybe wasn’t the pick, they held out as though they didn’t know what they were going to do until the very last minute. Literally, they took the entire 10 minutes to make the choice, while the rest of the NFL sat back and laughed. From what has been reported, no team had any interest in moving up to get Murray. I am thinking the Cardinals could have gotten Murray with the 5th pick at the very worst and probably could have got him in the teens.
- The above doesn’t matter if the Cardinals did not have a significant investment at the quarterback position already, as well as holes all over the roster, you take the quarterback that your head coach “has” to have to be successful. But the reality is the Cardinals do have a significant investment, not only in cash but draft equity, at quarterback. And the roster is not full of holes, it is one giant hole!
- The comparison to the Rams and Jared Goff applies here. Goff under a head coach with little offensive imagination, struggled mightily. Rams hire boy wonder McVay and he turns a mediocre Goff into a Super Bowl loser; still Goff has two playoff wins which is more than Dak Prescott, Patrick Mahomes and Marcus Mariota. This seems like a fair comp, Cardinals have rookie Rosen thrown into the fire with a defensive minded head coach and, an offensive coordinator who has fired mid-season; not exactly setting the kid up for success. He clearly struggled, but, in my opinion, he was better than Goff as a rookie. Keep in mind that Rams roster was overall better than the Cardinals last year as well. The Cardinals, protecting their investment in Rosen, hire a quarterback guru in Kingsbury. The seemed like a perfect plan. Kliffy gets two years to get the most out of Rosen, while the Cardinals rebuild the roster. At that point the Cardinals know what they have in Rosen, and if the final assessment is, he is not “the guy” then they move on to another Oklahoma quarterback who won the Heisman because the BIG 12 plays less than zero defense. If you think about two years from now – Trevor Lawrence, a true franchise, transcendent player will be in the draft. The point – the Cardinals have no idea what they have in Rosen, you cannot give up on a player until you know what he is!
- Raise your hand if you trust Kyler Murray’s dad. Hmm, no hands raised . . . Raise your hand if you think it is curious to choose a sport with a life expectancy of three years versus a sport you could play 20 years. Hmm, all hands raised . . . Look Kyler’s “life-long love” of football is reason 25,000,001 that he decided to give the money back to the A’s and pursue a football career. He netted 11 million on this deal out of the box and 17 million over the next three years. Fast forward three years – uncle Kliff will be looking for a new job, Kyler will be heading back to the A’s and Rosen will have at least three playoff wins under his belt – book it! Sure, that is the worst-case scenario but that is significantly more likely than Kyler winning three playoff games in that period.
The above does nothing to address the limitations Murray has on the field.
The size problem. Murray fan boy – “Look at Russell Wilson.” Realistically, Wilson is at least an inch taller than Murray, has bigger hands (that is a big deal in the NFL, ball is slicker and tougher to grip) and had played professional baseball, which undoubtedly matured him. In my mind, Russell seems like a better leader and more mature than Murray, also a big deal in the NFL. And Russell was a third-round pick who was drafted on an already Super Bowl roster. How long will the Cardinals give Murray before they give up on him? I mean they just kicked a slightly used #10 pick to the curb after a year.
The “BIG12” problem. Murray fan boy – “Look at Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes.” I say look at the Alabama game – 31-10 when Bama essentially got bored, allowing Murray to pile up stats, giving the illusion that the game was close. When the game in the balance, Murray looked pedestrian against a defense that is much closer to the one he will face in the NFL. As to the comps, Mayfield has a significantly better roster, plays in a place where winning six games is considered a huge success and played with virtually no expectations last year. Let’s see what happens this year with a mountain of expectations as the newly anointed team to beat in the AFC North.
It is hard to argue with the success Mahomes has had and if Murray turns out to be Patrick Mahomes, I supposed the Cardinals will proclaim the move a success. My argument against the Mahomes comp would be Mahomes sat a full year, under a proven quarterback guru, plays behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and had a surplus of weapons the Cardinals can only fantasize about. In addition, while mobile, Mahomes is more of a pocket passer who uses his legs to create time and space. Murray is the opposite, uses his legs to create plays. Good luck with that in the NFL, where everyone is as fast.
At the end of the day, it’s not Murray’s his fault, props to him and his family for getting what he got. And props to his pops if the master plan to get 17 million more up front, hope for success in the NFL that will garner him a huge quarterback contract, but if that doesn’t happen, he returns to MLB. That is genius!
No, the fault here is clearly on the Cardinals, specifically Michael Bidwell. I have read a lot of vitriol aimed at Steve Keim over the last 24 hours, please people, this poor guy is nothing more than Bidwell’s puppet and ultimate fall guy. This move to draft Murray was not about the product on the field but rather filling seats and filling them with millennials as was the decision to hire Kingsbury in the first place. It makes a lot of sense, millennials don’t really care about results, hell, they forget who won an hour after the game. No, they want to part of the experience, they want to follow like-minded people. Exit old curmudgeon, defensive coach, enter young, fresh-minded, fireworks guy with a cool haircut and dope threads.
There was a time where NFL players referred to the Cardinals as the “arm pit” of the NFL. It seems like that is the Bidwell’s comfort zone because they are certainly doing all they can to return to that dubious moniker. No one will want to play here, but millennials will eat up the experience. Fill seats, right, Mike?
If you are golfer, you understand the value of a mulligan. A chance to redo a poor shot is invaluable in golf, which is why very few, if any are ever allotted. This feels a lot like Steve Keim and Michael Bidwell used a mulligan to erase a 180-yard shot that landed on the green a mere 15-feet from the pin, in hopes they can hit a shot inside 10-feet. Problem they cannot putt so either way it doesn’t matter!
Stayed tuned for next year’s draft, when the Cardinals, drafting first again, pull the trigger on . . . Heisman winner, Oklahoma quarterback, Jalen Hurts! They still can’t putt, but maybe one of these days they will knock it in from 180 out and maybe I will hit the lotto.