As I began writing my 2019 NFL Mock Draft, I realized that my analysis of the Cardinals options and pick was getting way too high in word count. So, I’m dropping the number one overall pick early, and am examining the Cardinals options well before draft night, because if one of those options comes to fruition, it’s going to have to happen before then.
No.1, Arizona Cardinals: DE Nick Bosa
This whole Kyler Murray fiasco/smokescreen/dream has been very, very emotional for me. It’s taken me a long time to come around to the fact that Murray could very well be our next quarterback, just a year after we drafted Josh Rosen at No.10 overall.
But it’s important to note that my acceptance of the possible scenario isn’t based on Murray. It’s based on Kliff Kingsbury, who I am 110 percent in on.
The hire was trashed and praised around the league. Critics attacked his winning percentage at Texas Tech, one that certainly wasn’t great especially considering he had Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes at points throughout his stint. Those who praised it are those who see that offense is taking over the league, and the more innovative and explosive you are on that end, the more likely you are to succeed.
I loved the hire. Kingsbury may not know how to coach, but he knows offense, and that’s really the number one thing the Cardinals need. That end of the field was so horrifically bad last season, and kept us out of practically every game. Steve Keim has built a defense; I trust him to do that. The offensive side of the ball has always been a struggle or a heart-attack (I’m pointing at you, Carson Palmer). Kingsbury is the type of guy who can completely turn that side of things around. Just give him the guys he wants.
But if Murray’s the guy, then some other things need to happen.
First of all, the Cardinals simply cannot draft Murray with Rosen on the roster. As soon as you make that pick, Rosen’s trade value plummets. Plummets to a point where the best you could get for him is a third round pick, instead of that being the basement value (Which is where it currently stands now). Rosen has to be traded as the pick is being announced or before. So far, we have nothing on that second front.
But you don’t deal Rosen for just anything. I like Rosen. A lot. What happened last year wasn’t his fault at all. Incompetent coaching was everywhere on the sidelines. The offensive line didn’t exist. He had zero weapons. Oh, and he was a rookie, who even in a good offense, was going to make mistakes.
Rosen made a lot of rookie decisions, but also showed some promise. His arm is ridiculous, and the accuracy, when it’s at its full potential, is disgusting. The mistakes were mental and were bad decisions. None really showed a lack of skill.
I was ecstatic when we took Rosen last year. I thought he was the second best quarterback in the draft. There was nothing wrong with him football-wise.
There still isn’t anything wrong with him football-wise.
That’s why the Kingsbury hiring was so exciting. Putting Rosen in Kingsbury’s hands was going to take the offense to that next level. I’m so in on Kingsbury that I’ve convinced myself that personnel doesn’t even matter. The offense is going to better. It literally can’t be worse, first of all, and Kingsbury knows what he is doing. He knows what he’s doing offensively, at least.
The reason this is a debate is because the guy(s) that Kingsbury wants may not be Rosen. There’s a lot of evidence that points to the fact that it is Murray.
That means getting rid of Rosen, and as I said above, you can’t do it for just anything. Rosen and Kingsbury is a more than fine pairing. But if someone comes calling and offers a top 45-ish pick, then you have to pull the trigger, right?
It’s selling low on Rosen, and that is terrifying. But as long as I’m making someone overpay for him, then I’m comfortable, because if Kingsbury is tells Steve Kiem “Get me Kyler Murray and…”, that “and” is pretty exciting. And terrifying for the rest of the NFL.
Again, I’m not sold on Murray. He’s small and could be really fragile. The running ability, though sick and incredibly valuable, only amplifies those concerns over his size and durability. There’s also just a tad bit too much hype. Just a little bit.
But at the same time, Murray feels like someone who could totally turn the NFL on its head if he hits his ceiling. We’re literally looking at Michael Vick 2.0 who might be even more accurate; Murray’s a better thrower in the short range of the field and fits balls into incredible windows within eight yards of the line of scrimmage. He’s tantalizing, and with Kingsbury, who has sought after him since he was a high-schooler trying to decide what college to commit to, he’s even more so. That combo is terrifying for the rest of the NFL.
So if the opportunity is there, the opportunity to trade for Rosen for a full and fair value (a top 45 pick), the Cardinals should do it. Get Kingsbury exactly what he wants and watch the magic happen. If the opportunity isn’t there, then Rosen is perfectly viable second option. Trading Rosen, especially to a place like the Charges or Patriots, is terrifying (To a place like Washington or the Giants? Not so much), and the talk about him not being a fit in Kingsbury’s system doesn’t make any sense. You don’t need to run to be successful in it; you need to have an arm. A cannon, to be exact. Rosen has that.
So unless someone wants to overpay, the Cardinals should take Nick Bosa at number one overall. Pairing him with Chandler Jones creates a problem for any opposing offensive line, and a good pass rush makes a defense a quarter-or-so better than a defense without one. Quinnen Williams is extremely intriguing, and Josh Allen is a do-it-all stud, but the key to a defense is a defined and dominating end presence. Allen will be all over the field, and Williams makes his impact in stopping the run rather than getting to the quarterback. Take Bosa and be unstoppable on every down, or take Murray, trade Rosen and let the fireworks begin. As long as Rosen brings back good value, the Cardinals really can’t lose here. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be when you’re picking number one overall?