Kliff Kingsbury is the unicorn in this year’s NFL Draft. Once a New Braunfels High Unicorn, always a unicorn.
According to the Urban Dictionary: a unicorn is “the rare creature who is able to give you the thing you always wanted but thought you could never have.”
What the Cardinals haven’t had in quite some time is a home run draft class from top to bottom. Cardinals fans have always wanted this---but it’s gotten to the point where many Cardinals’ fans wonder whether a home run draft class is even a possibility.
What Kliff Kingsbury brings to the Cardinals’ draft room is not only as bright a football mind as there is, he has deeper insights on the prospects in this draft than anyone in the building because he has recruited so many of them, he has coached some of them and/or he has played against vast numbers of them. That’s the kind of inside knowledge that NFL GMs and scouts dream of.
Every year, Steve Keim says about the draft that “we fall in love with players in the fall and then we confuse ourselves in the spring.” In this way, as the poet T.S. Eliot opined, one could say that “April is the cruelest month.”
What this 2019 NFL Draft affords the Cardinals is a golden chance for Kingsbury to put his own personal stamp on the football team.
If you have noticed the ways in which Kingsbury answers questions from the media, he is swift and direct. Just like the way he calls plays, the form follows function-----everything is swift and direct. Kingsbury always talks about taking the thinking out of things through diligent preparation.
Thus, Kliff Kingsbury could be the most valuable asset the Cardinals have ever had in their draft room. Kingsbury knows what he wants---he is extremely well prepared---and he can make pivotal decisions at the snap of his fingers.
Bill Parcells long ago made a memorable case as a head coach when it comes to the draft---”If you are going to cook the meal, they had better let you shop for the groceries.”
Can you imagine what Kliff Kingsbury is like in a grocery store. I bet you there are no wasted steps or long hesitations at the meat counters. It’s bam bam bam bam bam and he’s out of there.
This is precisely what the Cardinals need in correcting the manner in which they draft.
If Steve Keim and Adrian Wilson are wise enough to let Kliff Kingsbury gallop his way through this draft, this could accelerated the Cardinals’ and Kingsbury’s chances to be yearly Super Bowl contenders.
The entire NFL world already knows who Kingsbury eagerly wants with the #1 pick. To deprive him of QB Kyler Murray would be an egregious error in judgement.
If we simply took the prospects whom Kingsbury knows so well in this draft (Big 12 and Texas colleges plus players from other spread systems)---here is a bam bam bam mock of what he could accomplish (let’s add a hypothetical trade of Josh Rosen to the Redskins for their #46 and #153 picks, plus a 2020 4th rounder, which could become a 3rd rounder if Rosen attempts more than 200 passes this season)---and this is what it could possibly look like:
1. Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma---most electric and dynamic player in the draft
33. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma--- speedy home run threat coming off Lisfranc injury
46. Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M---top notch anchor at key spot in spread offense
65. Bobby Evans, T, Oklahoma---the most under-rated player in this draft, highly talented
103. Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M---playmaker who is a perfect scheme fit
139. Kingsley Keke, DT, Texas A&M---athletic, strong run stopper
153. Ben Banogu, OLB, TCU---fast and furious edge player who put on a clinic at the Combine
174. Antoine Wesley. WR, Texas Tech---coming off super productive season as Red Raiders’ X receiver
179. Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma---a top 50 pick, if not for ACL tear
248. Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington St.---could be #2 QB in 2020, thrives in spread offense
249. Jah’Shawn Johnson, S, Texas Tech---box hitter with good instincts and nose for the ball
254. Paul Stawarz, C/G, Texas Tech---highly versatile, nice fit in spread offense
The one guarantee about all of these picks---Kliff Kingsbury knows these players inside and out.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Steve Keim and Adrian Wilson are on board with all of the players above, unless there are some red flags they have uncovered.
Hopefully come April 25th the Cardinals will let Kingsbury point the way and haul in the groceries---swiftly and directly.
And just maybe---April can now become a magical month for the Arizona Cardinals, the kind that unicorns usher along.