Ever since the Arizona Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury as their head coach, rumors began to swirl about them drafting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.
But with the draft just five days away, it now appears the Cardinals might look to go in a different direction at No. 1, according to CBS Sports NFL insider Pete Prisco.
“Initially, the ownership pushed for Kyler Murray,” Prisco recently said on CBS Sports HQ. “That much I know — I was told that.
“The reason they did is they are having a hard time selling tickets. Well, they put it out there. Arizona was lukewarm to it. All of a sudden, they are pulling back, and from what I’ve been told, they are going to go in a different direction. They are not going to draft Kyler Murray.”
How’s that for a pre-draft bombshell?
So, let’s unpack this a bit.
First of all, it’s entirely possible the Cardinals are putting this out there because they want to see what offers they can get to move out of the No. 1 spot, should a team really want Murray or perhaps Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa. And if they don’t receive an offer that blows them away, they’ll stay in that slot and draft Murray anyways.
Rosen also complicates things for the Cardinals. Drafted with the No. 10 overall pick last year, Rosen struggled in his rookie campaign through little fault of his own. Saddled with mediocre offensive weapons and a porous offensive line, the UCLA product was rudely welcomed to the NFL. If the Cardinals were to draft Murray, they would need to find a taker for Rosen, and they’re reportedly looking for a team willing to pay a steep price for him in order to save face. It appears Arizona is having trouble finding such a suitor.
If the Cardinals do pass on Murray for Bosa, the 49ers will be put in a little bit of a bind. For weeks, it’s been looking like the 49ers will take Bosa, the draft’s top prospect, when he falls into their lap, and Arizona passing on Murray could throw a huge wrench into their draft plans.
If Bosa is unavailable at No. 2, San Francisco could look to move back in the draft, collect assets and still take an edge rusher with high upside in the middle part of the first round.
Meanwhile, the Raiders sit at No. 4, and it appears only Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock and a few trusted advisors know the Silver and Black’s plan.
Rumors leaked earlier this week that the Raiders could be planning a “big move” to trade up and take Murray or Bosa, but if the Cardinals don’t draft Murray, the electric quarterback could fall right into Oakland’s hands at No. 4. Of course, if Quinnen Williams also is on the board, the Raiders’ brass will have a difficult choice to make.
In five days time, we’ll know if Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense will be manned by Rosen or the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner. What the Cardinals choose to do will have wide-spread consequences on the entire first round of the draft.