More than two months have passed since Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray officially announced his intention to focus on football over baseball and, shortly thereafter, buzz began that the Arizona Cardinals would heavily consider him with the No. 1 overall pick. Despite a number of twists, turns, and rumors, the heavily anticipated marriage between player and team officially came together on Thursday evening, with Arizona tabbing Murray as the first player off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Murray won the 2018 Heisman Trophy while throwing for more than 4,000 yards and rushing for more than 1,000 yards during his only year as the starting signal caller at Oklahoma, cementing himself as a top-tier talent. However, there were potential roadblocks along the way, beginning with the fact that he was pledged as a top-10 pick to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics. Once he chose football on a full-time basis, Murray also faced questions about his size, though those whispers were muted to some degree when he measured at more than 5’10 and 200 pounds at the NFL Draft Combine.
From there, the Cardinals had a big-time decision to make, especially since Arizona traded up to select former UCLA signal-caller Josh Rosen in the 2018 draft. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury seemingly played a significant role in the decision-making process, as he was hired after a so-so tenure at Texas Tech with an eye toward overhauling Arizona’s offense. With Murray as a potentially dynamic option at the helm, the foundation could be laid here, though it remains to be seen as to what the Cardinals might do with Rosen as a trade asset.
Murray may not be a conventional No. 1 overall pick but, at the very least, he is immensely talented. In an NFL that is increasingly motivated by speed and space, he fits the bill as a potential franchise-changer at the most important position in the sport.