Is it purely coincidence that the very day that Kliff Kingsbury is introduced as the Cardinals’ new head coach, word is that Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winning QB Kyler Murray is going to enter the 2019 NFL Draft?
For all the Nick Bosa loving Cardinals’ fans, the thought of drafting another QB in the 1st round is galling...but...let me assure you why drafting Murray is the best Christmas present this organization has received since Kurt Warner.
Pairing Kliff Kingsbury with the QB he believes is an absolute “freak” is the best way to safeguard Kingsbury’s success as an NFL head coach. Here is what Kingsbury had to say about Murray back in October, well before Murray won the Heisman Trophy:
Kliff Kingsbury back on October 28, 2018:— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 10, 2019
"Kyler is a freak.....I would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could."
(via @EricKellyTV) pic.twitter.com/N9m99DkTNr
This is not hyperbole from Kingsbury. This is the absolute truth.
Yes, there are questions about Murray’s height—-and yes he struggled in the first half of the Alabama semi-final (but wound up passing for over 300 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints and running for a TD)—-but when you look at the pure skill and precision that he brings to the QB position, particularly in a wide-open offensive attack, your jaw is going to drop.
Murray’s predecessor at Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield, was the #1 pick in the 2018 draft and he is now the buzz of Cleveland.
Kyler Murray is a more gifted QB than Baker Mayfield.
Take a look at Mayfield’s 2017 stats and Murray’s 2018 stats:
Mayfield (2017): 235/404/70.5%/4,627/11.5ypa/43/6/198.9 passing + 97/311/3.2/5td rushing.
Murray (2018): 260/377/69.0%/4,361/11.6ypa/42/7/199.2 passing + 140/1,001/7.2/12td rushing.
The passing stats are almost identical (amazing, isn’t it? And this was Murray’s first year starting, compared to Mayfield’s 3rd year). Now go and look at the rushing stats. Murray is an absolute escape artist with his feet and is a faster version of Russell Wilson. With his arm and his feet Murray racked up 54 TDs to Mayfield’s 48.
Now that Murray is electing to enter the draft, he is going to become the buzz of the draft.
This is not a particularly strong QB class, especially since Justin Herbert is going to stay another year at Oregon.
So, what about Josh Rosen?
When I watched Kyler Murray this season what stood out to me is his uncanny ability to sustain his focus and deliver the ball on the money time and time again, from the first play of the game to the last play of the game.
I never saw that type of sustained focus and accuracy and decision making from Josh Rosen at UCLA. That was my biggest concern about him last year before—-that—-and his concussions and his right shoulder injury which required surgery.
Kingsbury raved yesterday about Rosen’s arm—-and justifiably so. But, one has to wonder whether Rosen is the right fit in an Air Raid offense. It’s quite possible that Rosen can be a good fit. But, if I were looking at Rosen’s strengths and style, I would say the best match for him system-wise is in a version of the West Coast offense.
With Kyler Murray, there is no doubt that he is the quintessential Air Raid QB.
So many of us Cardinals’ fans have been lamenting the lost opportunity to draft Kingsbury’s best QB at Texas Tech, Patrick Mahomes.
Well, this year the Cardinals can make up for that lost opportunity by drafting Kyler Murray.
I and other were imploring the Cardinals to draft QB Lamar Jackson.
Well, what a gift, because drafting Kyler Murray is like drafting a combination of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Steve Keim was very high on Russell Wilson and wanted the Cardinals to take Wilson in the 2012 draft, but that was before Keim was promoted to GM.
The point is—-if Kingsbury assures Steve Keim that Kyler Murray gives him and the Cardinals the best chance to win—-then Kyler Murray is going to be the Cardinals’ #1 pick.
Seeing as it is not a deep draft for QBs, the Cardinals could listen to trade offers for Josh Rosen—-or—-they can feel great about having two of the most talent young QBs on their roster for the next 4 years—-or until they can get the kind of trade value they want.
We have seen around the NFL how having 2 good QBs is a luxury and a huge asset.
If you go by Baker Mayfield’s and Josh Rosen’s contracts—-here is roughly what to would cost the Cardinals to keep Murray and Rosen for the next four years:
2019> Murray ($5.9M) + Rosen ($3.2M) = $9.1M
2020> Murray ($7.4M) + Rosen ($4.0M) = $11.4M
2021> Murray ($8.9M) + Rosen ($4.8M) = $13.7M
2022> Murray ($10.4M) + Rosen ($5.6M) = $16M
Can you see what a bargain this is? A QB1-A and a QB1-B combined for more that $10—$15M less that the average NFL QB1 alone. For 4 years!
For those of you stuck on Nick Bosa, with the Cardinals returning to a 34 base, many of you are projecting Bosa as a 34 DE. I will tell you this right now—-Bosa isn’t going to like that. He is proto-typical 43 strong side DE. He is also coming off surgery due to a core injury in Week 3 of the season.
There is a player in this draft projected to go late in round one or early in round 2, who, in my opinion, is better suited for the 34 DE position than Nick Bosa, His name is Zach Allen of Boston College.
Nick Bosa (6-4, 263, Ohio St.): 77 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles.
Zach Allen (6-5, 285, Boston College): 199 tackles, 40.5 tackles for loss, 16.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions.
The QB needy teams in the draft are the Giants, Jaguars, Broncos, Redskins and Dolphins.
The Giants (#6), Jaguars (#7), Broncos (#10), Redskins (#13) and Dolphins (#15) might turn their attention Rosen in the 1st round.
If come round 2 and those teams have not yet selected a QB, could the Cardinals consider trading Josh Rosen for the #37 (NYG), #38 (JAX), #41 (DEN), #46 (WAS), #48 (MIA) pick, plus a 2020 2nd or 3rd rounder?
It’s possible that the Patriots at #28 could make a move for Rosen, if Tom Brady is suddenly contemplating coming back for one more season or retiring.
Regardless, having good QBs is like money in the bank. The value keeps increasing with time and interest.
Why Kyler Murray is the best choice to lead Kliff Kingsbury’s offense?
#1—-Leadership. This guy cries after rare losses. He puts up with no bs. He leaves it all on the field. He carried that Oklahoma team to the Big 12 Championship and the National semi-finals while compensating game after game for a weak defense.
#2—-Mobility. Murray is a chains mover deluxe, who is both super quick and blazing fast.
#3—-Accuracy. Money throws, time after time, play after play.
#4—-Focus and Football IQ. Off the charts.
#5—-Competitiveness. Never lost a game in high school and took a so-so Oklahoma team to the Final 4.
Did you know that Kyler Murray has the highest single-season QBR since 2004?
- Kyler Murray: 95.8—-2018
- Russell Wilson: 94.1—-2011
- Andrew Luck: 93.8—-2010
- Tua Tagovailoa: 93.2—-2018
- Baker Mayfield: 92.3—-2017
Pretty good company, eh?
if you want to get goosebumps seeing what Kyler Murray brings to a football team, take a good gander at these highlights:
Murray Christmas Cardinals’ fans. This is going to be one heckuva sleigh ride!