Day 1 of the NFL draft was either the best day ever or one of the worst days ever in Cardinal fandom history, depending on your perspective.
The Cardinals committed the #1 pick to a new quarterback with one they had just drafted 10th overall the year previously still on the roster and everything was unknown, chaotic and disappointing in some level.
If not with Murray, then at least the way the whole situation had been handled. Add in the disappointment of N’keal Harry of Arizona State going one pick before the Cardinals reportedly would have taken him and it was a massive disappointment for many.
On Day 2, however, the light at the end of the tunnel got a bit brighter. Arizona took standout local product Byron Murphy at corner, and then dropped the hammer with a trade of Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins including a 5th round pick. They took a speedy wide receiver with production (something JJ Nelson never really had) followed by a pass rusher.
All of whom were, essentially darlings of analytics website Pro Football Focus.
So now on Day 2, a plan starts to form.
-Finding a partner for Patrick Peterson at last
-Giving Josh Rosen the best chance for success and getting a decent pick back in return
-Adding a much needed deep threat
-Boosting the defense a run-stuffing defender on the line
All needs, and all productive players. There was optimism, for some Cardinals fans who had been seeing none.
This was after Day 2 of the draft had finished.
What had been hope lost was a bit of that hope restored. And then come Day 3 with picks of Hakeem (the Beast) Butler and Deionte Thompson (Who many had pegged as a top 40 pick, along with finally some offensive lineman, a defender and Caleb Wilson and grades started dropping.
Cardinals are crushing this draft. There's some absurd value in these picks pic.twitter.com/4efPbT30N6— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 27, 2019
Even some high praise about Arizona’s expectations for next year:
From coaching changes to what they did on free agency & trade markets & now this, #Cardinals have a real shot to be NFC's most-improved team. RT Marcus Gilbert, DE Terrell Suggs, MLB Jordan Hicks, and S D.J. Swearinger (claimed off waivers late last Dec) were impact veteran adds.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 27, 2019
Whew. High praise. And an interesting question to go with it...
how much do we trust the lions, ravens, panthers, seahawks to anticipate what they are going to see from this offense tactically in the first four weeks?— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) April 27, 2019
This is why I believe in the 2019 Cardinals and that the NFL just isn’t ready for them.
We saw how Patrick Mahomes operated in a similar offense to what Kingsbury ran with talents such as Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt (wait....uh....oh) Travis Kelce and Damian Williams and more did with an aggressive Air Raid quarterback.
Chiefs defense last year was just not great at all. Arizona’s was 32nd versus the run but should show some improvement.
Still, it’s the offense that I think can surprise now because they have something now that they were sorely lacking last year: playmakers.
Going ”full Air Raid” isn’t what Kliff Kingsbury will do as he will adapt his plays and schemes for the NFL and as a result his offense will be a mystery as to plays called, some of the concepts and assignments and the rest. He’s a genius game-planner (seriously, go check out his game against Oklahoma a few years ago and how he attacked their one-on-one coverage with Mahomes) who’s hopefully finally got the quarterback of his dreams now.
Teams won’t know if Kyler will pass, run, fake or scramble but that doesn’t mean much without guys around him making plays. Fitzgerald, David Johnson and Christian Kirk couldn’t shoulder the whole load last year.
...Now they have enough talent I think they can.
Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler are two dominant deep threats, plus an all-around guy in Deesean and you have the makings of a talented offense that could see some major rookie impact. And on defense?
The #1 overall corner plus some people’s #1 overall safety and a guy who had 100 tackles as a defensive lineman (that’s insane) just sweeten that pot. They’ll add to guys like Peterson, Jones, Peters, Baker, Swearinger and Hicks and that’s quite frankly exciting.
It’s a tough sell at this time but if Murray is set to be a generational type possibility at quarterback, he’s got more than enough weapons now, and a talented coach who believes in him, to shock the world. They’ll go deep, run it, get tricky and all in all make football in Arizona I think, something it wasn’t last year.
The only question I have left is...how soon will we get to see it in action?