Should the Cardinals pull the trigger on Kyler Murray?
The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a 3-13 season and hold the #1 pick in this year’s draft. Would drafting Kyler Murray make any sense at #1?
When asked about Josh Rosen’s future with the team, Cardinal’s General Manager Steve Keim replied “Yeah, he is right now for sure.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. The obvious speculation is that the Cardinals would instead pivot to taking Kyler Murray with the first pick of the draft, something that has been mocked on social media and in the news. Would drafting Murray just a year after taking Rosen make any sense? I think so. Here’s why.
Let me start this by saying Rosen was put in an absolutely awful situation last year and received little help from his offensive line, play-callers, or receivers. I still think he can be an average to above-average quarterback and was absolutely worth the #10 pick he was taken with last year. However, that should not preclude the Cardinals from taking Murray this year if they believe he is an upgrade. Why would a team purposefully pass up on a quarterback upgrade? Just because of the timing of when they took their last quarterback? Obviously, if the Cardinals have the two signal-callers rated similarly, then it doesn’t make sense. But I, and others, believe Murray is the much better prospect.
So what happens to Rosen then? Well, the answer would be to trade him. I have to assume there are teams interested in Rosen, and the Cards could probably get a first-rounder for the highly-touted player which in turn would allow them to shore up the rest of their roster. Why not at least explore the trade market for Rosen? If you can’t get a fair offer pre-draft, role into the season with both, let them compete for the starting position, and wait for the right offer to present itself. The NFL is full of teams that are desperate, especially when it comes to finding a quarterback. An offer will arise.
Another argument against drafting Murray is that he’ll be playing for the same talent-starved team, and will thus struggle similarly to Rosen. It’s true, the Cardinals roster is not an offensive play callers dream. But Murray has the ability to move and manipulate the pocket that Rosen has not demonstrated, which will alleviate some of the pressure he will inevitably face. His ability to run would make him a legitimate running back prospect in this class and will allow him to manufacture yards and will add a dimension to the offense that Rosen doesn’t. And he’s probably on par with Rosen as a passer as well. So I think Murray would deal better being behind a porous offensive line compared to Rosen who is a more traditional pocket passer that lacks upside when moving with the ball and avoiding defenders.
All in all, I believe Murray would probably be an upgrade over Rosen, would probably deal with pressure better, and would hypothetically let the Cards pick up some extra draft capital from dealing Rosen to make up for not moving down from the top pick. Why not upgrade at quarterback? Franchises stay mediocre because they accept what they have and don’t search for upgrades. The Bengals have remained content with Andy Dalton and remain in purgatory. The Chiefs had Alex Smith and aggressively traded up to select Patrick Mahomes. If the Cardinals view Murray as a significant upgrade on Rosen, it makes sense to shop Rosen and take Murray. Why should the Cardinals be mocked for mulling what they might perceive to be a potential roster upgrade at the most important position in sports?