If the Arizona Cardinals plan to draft quarterback Kyler Murray No. 1 overall, tipping their hand would decrease their leverage in potentially trading Josh Rosen. Or perhaps Murray isn’t in their plans after all.
It’s been widely presumed, although perhaps less so in recent days, that the Cardinals will select the 2018 Heisman winner out of Oklahoma. Nine days before the 2019 NFL Draft, general manager Steve Keim insisted that the team remains undecided on what to do with the top pick.
“The fact that I don’t know what we’re doing but everyone else does, that’s concerning,” he told reporters Tuesday. “We are not done with this process. We have not made a decision on the No. 1 overall pick.”
We’ve officially reached the home stretch of the pre-draft process. It wasn’t even two months ago that the Murray-to-Cardinals connection picked up steam at the combine after Keim, pressed on whether Rosen was Arizona’s QB, qualified his answer by saying he is, “right now.”
The narrative gained even more traction a few weeks later when new coach Kliff Kingsbury said “everything’s on the table” with the first pick. Of course, Kingsbury had previously stated he would take Murray with the top pick if he had it, back when the two were still battling in the Big 12.
What Kingsbury said he would do has become what he can do.
Rosen endured a trying rookie season in which he completed just 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while making 13 starts behind a patchwork offensive line. But amid all of the speculation about Rosen’s future in Arizona, both Keim and Kingsbury said he has been exemplary since the team began offseason workouts last week.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Kingsbury said. “He couldn’t have been better honestly. First one to show up. Engaging. Into it. Very sharp, as everybody knows. Can’t say enough good things about my interactions with him so far.”
Keim added: “We’ve had good communication. He is a pro’s pro. And the one thing I’ve appreciated the most since we’ve drafted him. The kid has an unbelievable amount of mental toughness. You saw that last year as he took a beating and we went through the injuries that we went through up front. Physical toughness, mental toughness — Josh Rosen has it all.”
The Cardinals‘ front office is clearly looking to build Rosen up. What remains to be seen is who its doing it for.