Kyler Murray

Cardinals’ HC On No. 1 Overall Pick: “Everything’s On The Table”

The Cardinals have been relatively busy since free agency opened, making a number of moves to bolster their offensive line, the front seven of their defense, and taking a flier on former first-round wideout Kevin White.

It does not appear that they will be contenders in 2019, however, and the moves they made were done with an eye on protecting a young quarterback and keeping the club competitive enough so that said young quarterback does not have to throw the ball 30+ times a game.

But who that quarterback will be remains an open question. There has been plenty of speculation that the club will use its No. 1 overall pick on Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray — just one year after trading up to the No. 10 pick to select Josh Rosen  and reports earlier this month indicated that Murray-to-Arizona was a done deal.

New head coach Kliff Kingsbury is a major reason for the speculation, as Kingsbury has no personal connection to Rosen, and the prevailing belief is that Murray would thrive in Kingsbury’s system. And as Grant Gordon of NFL.com writes, Kingsbury has done nothing to quiet the rumor mill.

Kingsbury told the NFL Network’s Steve Wyche yesterday, in response to a question about whether he would consider a QB with the No. 1 pick, “everything’s on the table. When you have that first pick, you’ve gotta turn over every stone and look at every scenario that’s out there, and so we’re definitely doing that.”

Of course, Kingsbury is not going to tip his hand, and he has said all the right things about Rosen. But he also sounds like a man who is not truly committed to the second-year signal-caller, no matter what he says publicly. Kingsbury said, “Yeah, I do [think Rosen could remain with the team]. I do. I mean, when you have the first pick, anything can happen, as you know, but you know, he’s a talented player, and we’re very high on him and that hasn’t changed. I’ve talked to Josh and he understands it’s a business and what all goes with the first pick and what’s going on.”

The Cardinals have reportedly received trade inquiries on Rosen, though one potentially interested team, the Redskins, are likely out of the picture at this point after trading for Case Keenum. But after a difficult rookie campaign, Rosen probably would not fetch much of a return, with perhaps a third-round draft choice being the best-case scenario for Arizona.

The club does have plenty of needs beyond QB, though, and if Kingsbury is not ruling anything out, one of this year’s top pass rushing prospects, like Nick Bosa, could also be in play. The Cardinals could also trade the pick and try to land more draft capital to accelerate their rebuild, especially if Kingsbury believes he can mold Rosen into a quality signal-caller. But given the general dearth of top-end talent at the skill positions this year, and considering the depth of talent at pass rusher, such a trade may not yield as much in 2019 as it might in a different year.

That could change if another team falls in love with Murray, but one way or another, there figures to be plenty of intrigue over the course of the next month. Unless they trade their No. 1 pick, the Cardinals will be on the clock at 9pm EST on April 25.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Murray, Haskins, Giants

Although Kyler Murray threw at Oklahoma’s pro day Wednesday, and fared well during that portion of his workout, he did not go through the full process. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner did not add any more fuel to the fire regarding his height, not taking part in another measurement. Murray only weighed in, stepping on the scale at 205 pounds, according to NFL.com’s Andrew Groover, on Twitter). This is two pounds down from Murray’s Combine weight. Murray measured at 5-foot-10 in Indianapolis. Additionally, the tantalizing prospect did not run the 40-yard dash at today’s event, per NFL.com’s James Palmer, despite the school planning on him doing so (Twitter links via James Palmer and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). So, teams will not have that figure going into the draft. Murray remains expected to be a top-10 pick, with a No. 1 overall ceiling.

  • Tyree Jackson is holding his pro day at the Bills‘ facility, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Buffalo University product is viewed as a rising prospect, with Schefter adding that many believe the 6-foot-7 passer will be a higher-than-expected draft choice.
  • The Giants now have two of the 2019 draft’s first 17 selections, which could point to them taking a quarterback with one of them. They have been most closely tied to Dwayne Haskins, but the Ohio State product may not enamor the team to the point of being worth the No. 6 overall pick, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes. It’s widely anticipated either Haskins or Murray will be the first quarterback selected, and both are viewed as likely top-10 picks. The Giants have been doing extensive research on Haskins, who burst onto teams’ radars with a dominant 2018.

Latest On Kyler Murray, Cardinals

Over the weekend, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told people that the selection of Kyler Murray at No. 1 overall is a “done deal,” according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Kingsbury doesn’t necessarily have final say on the matter, but it’s yet another sign that the Cardinals are serious about drafting the undersized, yet immensely talented, Oklahoma quarterback. 

[RELATED: Execs Believe Cardinals Targeting Kyler Murray]

The Murray-to-Arizona talk seemed far fetch just a few weeks ago because drafting Murray with the first pick would mean walking away from Josh Rosen, just one year after the Cardinals traded up to the No. 10 pick to select him. If they trade the UCLA product, the Cardinals might not get much in return.

Probably a three,” an NFL GM told Peter King of NBC Sports when asked to approximate Rosen’s trade value. “Not what the Cardinals would think his value is.”

If the Cardinals settle on Murray at No. 1 and put Rosen on the block, they could find a suitor in the Redskins. Or, they could stand pat with Rosen – who just celebrated his 22nd birthday – and dangle the top pick to a team intensely interested in Murray, such as the Raiders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Execs Believe Cardinals Targeting Kyler Murray

It started off as mere speculation, but now executives around the league believe the Cardinals are looking to target Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano writes

That idea started with an old quote from new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who said he would take Murray with the top pick when he was the coach at Texas Tech. Though Kingsbury has professed Josh Rosen as his guy, Cardinals GM Steve Keim made waves when he said Rosen was there quarterback “for now” earlier this week. Rosen later added fuel to the fire when he deleted all of his Instagram posts relating to the organization. Now Vacchiano says that many around the league see all the speculation coming to fruition.

“I really think he’s going No. 1,” one league source said. “He fits exactly what Kingsbury wants to do out there.”

Murray would seem to be a nice fit for Kingsbury’s high-flying offense. He possesses game-breaking mobility to go along with an accurate touch and an impressive deep ball. It is all just speculation at this point, but the possibility of Kingsbury getting Murray and flipping Rosen, the team’s top pick in 2018, for picks is becoming more of a reality the closer we inch to the draft.

Most current mock drafts tie the Cardinals to Ohio State star pass rusher Nick Bosa at No. 1, but Murray is being tabbed anywhere from No. 5-10. It wouldn’t be a shock to hear his name called with the top selection come draft day.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Kyler Murray

After his Heisman Trophy season came with the disclaimer that football would be in his past once Oakland A’s spring training began, Kyler Murray has become this draft’s most interesting player. However, he will delay his next football acts until March.

The former Oklahoma quarterback was measured at 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds on Thursday morning. He will also participate in interviews and the medical portion of the Combine, but Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com report the passer will wait until his pro day to go through timed drills or throw in front of teams (Twitter links).

Quarterbacks are scheduled to do drills on Saturday, and that portion of the Combine will be broadcast on ABC. It will be an interesting new microscope for prospects, with wide receivers and tight ends also set to do their field drills Saturday. Murray will save his work for the Sooners’ pro day, which is scheduled for March 12.

This decision is not especially unusual for a player expected to be picked early. Murray also informed scouts and personnel executives he would wait until his pro day. That was already likely going to be the most anticipated event of this year’s pro day circuit. That will be a certainty now.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kyler Murray Measures At 5’10”

Kyler Murray could be well on his way to being a top 5 pick in the NFL Draft. The Oklahoma quarterback measured in at 5’10” at the NFL Draft combine, which should give teams some comfort in his ability to see over defenders. 

[RELATED: Jets Open To Trading No. 3 To Giants]

Murray’s formal measurement put him at one-eighth of an inch over 5’10”, which was no small matter. There were rumblings of Murray being no taller than 5’9″ without shoes and such a measurement would have been devastating for his draft stock.

Murray’s hand also measured at 9.5 inches, which should be good enough to palm and handle an NFL football. That might not sound like a big deal, but quarterbacks have slid down the board in the past due to their hand size. His weight of 207 pounds should also bring comfort to execs who were concerned about whether he’d able to absorb hits at the pro level.

With those hurdles cleared, Murray should be one of the first names called in April. He may even be a contender for the No. 1 overall pick, which may or may not be kept by the Cardinals.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Rumors: Murray, Paradis, Keenum

Although the Broncos agreed to acquire Joe Flacco, they will still be linked to this year’s top rookie quarterbacks — as they were last year. If Kyler Murray is available at No. 10, they may serve as a spot for teams looking to trade up. John Elway does not appear to believe the shorter passer would be a fit for an offense that will use plenty of under-center looks under new OC Rich Scangarello, per Mike Klis of 9News (Twitter link). The Broncos passed on Josh Allen and Josh Rosen last year and have been connected to Drew Lock. If Denver sticks at No. 10 and chooses a non-quarterback, the team will have had back-to-back top-10 picks without addressing its long-term QB need with one of them. The 2020 draft is expected to have high-profile passers, but it’s obviously no lock the Broncos will be in position to draft or trade up for one.

Here is the latest from Denver (via Indianapolis):

  • Despite the Flacco deal, Elway’s preference is to keep Case Keenum. It would take a restructured deal, though, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets. Keenum is attached an untenable $21MM cap number. With Flacco set to bring an $18.5MM figure to Denver, it is hard to see Keenum staying due to the pay cut it would require. The 30-year-old incumbent has not requested a trade, Elway said (per the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran, on Twitter), adding the Broncos would allow him to seek one.
  • Matt Paradis probably looms as the Broncos’ top free agent priority. Elway has spoken with the Broncos’ center of the past four years and informed him they would like him back, Jhabvala tweets. But Paradis’ injury and price point will be a factor. The 29-year-old snapper has been expected to reach free agency, where a new market-setting deal may well await him — considering teams’ need for higher-end linemen. However, multiple executives predicted (via O’Halloran, Twitter link) Paradis will end up back in Denver on a one-year deal because of the broken fibula that ended his season last November.
  • The Broncos’ need for a cornerback is as great as it has been in five years, and Elway acknowledged (via Klis, on Twitter) the team needs to find a No. 2 corner to team with All-Pro Chris Harris. This would seem to point to Bradley Roby departing, which has been the expectation. Vic Fangio said (via Jhabvala) the Broncos will let Roby test free agency, a good sign he will not be back in 2019.
  • As for Harris, Elway said the team has not considered an extension yet and whether or not the Broncos do go in this direction will depend on their free agency period, per Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). However, Renck added earlier (Twitter link) the expectation is the Broncos will meet with Harris’ agent at the Combine. The 29-year-old corner has been one of Denver’s cornerstone players this decade, and with Roby likely to leave and Aqib Talib having been traded, Harris represents the Broncos’ only surefire option at corner. Denver is also set to let Tramaine Brock walk.
  • On its offensive line, Denver will bring back Ronald Leary, Elway confirmed (via Jhabvala, on Twitter). Leary has more than $5MM in injury guarantees due if he cannot pass a physical by March 17. It’s been previously reported the veteran guard will be unable to pass said physical by then. Leary has seen both of his Denver seasons end early because of injury. Also on the Broncos’ O-line: Elway said (per Renck, on Twitter) the team would like to re-sign right tackle starter Jared Veldheer and utility blocker Billy Turner. If Veldheer departs, the Broncos would have a sixth Week 1 right tackle starter in six years.

Extra Points: 49ers, Coaching Staffs, Zorn

Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes the 49ers would jump at the chance to trade for Odell Beckham Jr. if the Giants actually make him available, but Barrows is more skeptical about San Francisco’s interest in Antonio Brown. It has been rumored that Brown’s preferred destination is the 49ers, but Barrows says San Francisco would only be a serious suitor for Brown if the Steelers’ trade demands are modest. Of course, we recently heard that Pittsburgh may not get more than a third-round pick for AB, so maybe that is modest enough for the Niners to take the plunge.

Now for more from around the NFL (and XFL):

  • In the same piece linked above, Barrows writes that the 49ers must re-sign guard Mike Person, and he says the club plans to meet with Person’s agent at the Scouting Combine this week.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Giants are expected to hire Everett Withers as their new DBs coach. Withers spent the last three seasons as the head coach of Texas State and had previously agreed to become the defensive coordinator for Florida International in 2019. He will take over for Lou Anarumo, who left Big Blue to become the Bengals’ DC.
  • Former Bengals RBs coach Kyle Caskey will join the Lions in the same capacity, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network (via Twitter). It is a logical hire for Detroit, as Caskey did good work in his five years coaching Cincinnati’s running backs.
  • Colts WR Marcus Johnson, an exclusive rights free agent, has been cleared to resume football activities, Johnson himself tweeted. Johnson was placed on IR in October.
  • Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is not at this week’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis due to his surgery to repair a torn ACL (plus, while he would have been permitted to participate in limited interviews and undergo medical testing, he was banned from participating in drills). However, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets that Simmons will attend the medical recheck in Indianapolis in April, which will give interested clubs the chance to see how his recovery is progressing.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out an odd quirk in the league’s rule concerning a prospect’s eligibility to fully participate in the Scouting Combine. Since the ban on drills that players like Simmons have faced only encompasses convictions, that means that players who have not been convicted of a crime but who are still facing potentially serious charges — like Wyoming DE Carl Granderson — are allowed to participate in all aspects of the Combine. Of course, current NFL players may face league discipline even if they avoid legal repercussions for their misdeeds, so Florio believes the rule banning prospects only if they have been convicted of a crime should be eliminated.
  • Appearing on The Mighty 1090 (audio link), draft guru Tony Pauline expressed his belief that Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray will definitely be drafted in the first round; it is merely a question of where in the first round he will fall.
  • Former Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, who also served as the quarterbacks coach for five different NFL clubs, has been named the head coach and GM of the XFL’s Seattle franchise, the league announced via Twitter.

Extra Points: AAF, XFL, Murray

Last week the new league Alliance of American Football, the AAF, received a cash infusion of $250MM from investor Tom Dundon. Dundon, who owns the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, reportedly bailed the league out of some financial trouble, and effectively assumed control of the AAF. But according to a new report, Dundon may not be as tied to the league long-term as it intially seemed, per Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.

Apparently Dundon has yet to transfer over all $250MM, and the money will instead be procured over a period of time. Dundon apparently has the ability to pull the plug on the deal and stop funding the league if he determines the investment is no longer with it. None of this means that the league is in any immediate danger or that Dundon has had any sort of change of heart, but it adds another interesting wrinkle to the ordeal. The league has been very tightlipped about the circumstances surrounding Dundon’s investment, and concrete information has been hard to come by.

Here’s more from the football universe:

  • Speaking of alternative pro football leagues, the XFL named its latest head coach, and it was a notable NFL name. Pep Hamilton will be the coach of the league’s Washington franchise, according to Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports. Hamilton was the offensive coordinator of the Colts from 2013-15, and spent the past couple of years as an assistant on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan. He was also an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach with the Browns in 2016.
  • Kyler Murray spoke to the media today, and elaborated a bit on his decision to play football instead of baseball, per Jake Trotter of ESPN.com. Murray said that while it was hard letting the Oakland A’s know he would be going with the NFL, it was something he’d “known for a while.” He reiterated his commitment to playing quarterback at the next level, and said while the A’s “can hold out all the hope they want to”, he definitely wasn’t going to be changing his mind. It’s unclear exactly where Murray will be drafted, but most current projections have him going sometime in the top half of the first round.
  • In case you missed it, wide receivers Tyrell Williams and Adam Humphries could be in for big paydays when they hit the open market next month.

Extra Points: Giants, OBJ, Kaep, Murray

Will the Giants trade Odell Beckham. Jr. this offseason? Speculation is mounting, and Mike Florio of PFT adds fuel to the fire by suggesting that OBJ and the 49ers could be a match.

The Niners have the No. 2 and No. 36 overall picks in the draft, giving them ample ammo to land one of the game’s most dynamic receivers. An outright swap of the No. 2 pick for OBJ may be too high of a price for the 49ers to pay, but Florio suggests that the Giants could send back a third- or fourth-round pick to balance things out.

Florio also wonders if the already star-studded Rams could reignite their OBJ pursuit. Brandin Cooks seems to have the WR1 position covered, but they could theoretically put together a package with draft capital and a receiver like Robert Woods to make a strong offer.

While you ponder those OBJ possibilities, here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Now that Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance has been settled, the door may be open for the quarterback to return to the NFL. With that in mind, the beat writers of The Athletic ran down potential fits with each of the league’s 32 teams. The entire piece is worth a read, though there is a common refrain – Kaep may be a fit for several teams, but PR issues would ultimately 86 the chance of deals in most cases. The Seahawks, who previously explored a Kaepernick signing, may be among the most likely landing spots for the polarizing QB.
  • Oklahoma quarterback and dual-sport star Kyler Murray is training for the Scouting Combine, but he is unsure about whether he will throw in Indianapolis, as Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram tweets. Murray, presumably, will run the 40-yard dash, and he says he posted an impressive 4.3-second time when he last tried it in 2016. Teams will also be eager to measure the QB. An Oklahoma official recently claimed that Murray comes in at just 5’9″ and 7/8 inches in socks.
  • The Steelers might not get all that much for Antonio Brown in a trade, some NFL execs say.