Steve Keim Press Conference Quick Hitters
Quote: “We went above and beyond in every piece of this evaluation process. The more and more we dug in, the more it became crystal clear that Kyler Murray was the pick. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’ve seen guys who throw it like him. I’ve seen guys who can run it like him, but I can tell you that I haven’t seen anybody who can do the combination that he brings to the table.”
Analysis: With months of back-and-forth speculation, it seems as if the Cardinals regime knew quickly that Murray was their guy destined for the keys to the franchise. Keim praised Murray throughout, and this quote is a direct example of that. Despite the height/weight/size combination, he reiterated that he had never seen a quarterback with his blend of traits during his time as a scout and executive. This shows that Murray has been their choice for quite some time, even though Keim did admit that he didn’t even want to look at his film because of Rosen already being on the roster.
Quote: “We were high on Josh Rosen and certainly, we were fine to keep him, but I think there were a number of things that went into it, and it’s sort of a sliding scale when you look at the value of what you get for the player as well as the number of players that you can get. What our goal all along was, was to get potentially get four players with the pick yesterday (Friday) in our top-50, and not only did we do that, but we got four players in our top-35.”
Analysis: The Rosen trade was the talk of the second day of the draft. Stuck in a bit of a dilemma, the Cardinals opted to trade him for the No. 62 overall pick (who they turned into WR Andy Isabella). Keim’s reasoning, and why they opted to agree to the deal, was wise, though. There was no way that they could entertain the possibility of having Rosen and Murray in the same locker room. The media scrum would’ve been overwhelming. The trade showed that they were obviously all in on making Murray the face of their franchise.
Quote: “Hakeem Butler, our first pick on day three, never anticipated that this young man would be there on the board. A guy that we had tracked all throughout the spring, has outstanding size, length, and athleticism. A guy that Kliff (Kingsbury) knows quite well playing against him in that conference. He came and checked every box in the offseason. We did a private workout with him. We really liked the character and intangibles, and it was a no-brainer at that spot.”
Analysis: Similar to the chatter online, Keim agreed that there wasn’t a bigger discrepancy of evaluations on a prospect than Butler. The team did tons of homework on him and they were thrilled to take him at the top of the fourth round. His size and athleticism combo will help the offense as a whole, and it’s clear that the general manager was excited about selecting him after repeatedly saying that Kingsbury told him prior to the draft that he wanted to get playmakers in this draft for his system in order to fill out the depth chart.
Arizona Cardinals Draft Recap
(1st Round) No. 1 – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
All of the rumors and speculation finally came to a close, and the Cardinals elected to take the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. With Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and David Johnson, Murray enters an enviable situation, but the team must continue to build up the offensive line in front of him in the tough NFC West. The previous connection between new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Murray helped make this selection easier. He now has his signal-caller under center to engineer his Air Raid offense in the desert.
(2nd Round) No. 33 – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
For a roster that has a ton of holes, the Cardinals took a massive step towards satisfying their needs by selecting the best corner in the draft, Murphy. A true ballhawk and turnover machine, he provides a high-upside option in the team’s secondary. Showing comfort in a mixture of man and zone coverages, the former Husky defensive back brings versatility not only on the outside but also in nickel.
(2nd Round) No. 62 (via MIA) – Andy Isabella, WR, UMass
A pick acquired by trading Josh Rosen to the Dolphins, they use the added ammo to draft one of the most productive receivers in this draft class in Andy Isabella. There’s a misconception that he only provides value in the slot; he has shown the ability to consistently win on the outside, as well. With Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald already on the roster, the Cardinals add another playmaking option in Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense.
(3rd Round) No. 65 – Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
Easily one of the most productive interior defenders in the country the past two seasons, he is drafted into a situation where he can become an edge rusher or a defensive tackle. The long-term plan for former first-round draft pick Robert Nkemdiche remains in question, and that may be a position that Allen could step into as the long-term answer sooner rather than later.
(4th Round) No. 103 – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
After adding Kyler Murray and Andy Isabella, Keim continued to add weapons into Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense. Butler is an ideal fit on the outside. Considering that receivers rarely switch sides in the offensive design, Butler will be allowed to focus and perfect his craft even though it may mainly be on one side. Possessing a “go up and get it” type of playing style, the former Cyclone threat has to become more consistent with his route running and catch consistency in order to become a main contributor.
(5th Round) No. 139 – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Believed to be a potential first-round pick coming into the pre-draft process, Thompson’s stock slipped tremendously after nursing a wrist injury and playing at a weight much lighter than some anticipated. The College Football Playoff left a lasting impression on a lot of minds; he did not have his best stretch of games. The Cardinals get a potential top talent with the first pick of the fifth round.
(6th Round) No. 174 – KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State
The Cardinals continue to add to a quickly-turned-around receiving corps. Johnson isn’t a burner, but rather a smooth operator that just knows how to create separation and get open. Surrounding Kyler Murray with a litany of weapons was clearly Plan A, and Johnson’s skillset gives the unit a boost. With the versatility to play multiple positions, he could fit right into a group that lacks talent in many spots.
(6th Round) No. 179 – Lamont Gaillard, C, Georgia
Following the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Gaillard’s stock began to rise. A former defensive lineman who made the transition to the other side of the ball, Gaillard seems to have made the right choice. After becoming the heart and soul along the interior of the Georgia offensive line, the Cardinals are hoping he can do the same for the franchise, providing added depth and competition to Mason Cole in the middle.
(7th Round) No. 248 – Joshua Miles, OT/G, Morgan State
This small school standout was another offensive line prospect that the team targeted at the East-West Shrine Game. Miles played offensive tackle in 31 career games for the Bears. A former team captain and third-team all-conference selection during his senior season, he’s the prototypical stash-and-develop type of player. On a team that lacks talent along the offensive front in general, Miles could become an asset in the future.
(7th Round) No. 249 – Michael Dogbe, DT, Temple
One of the biggest omissions at the NFL Combine was Dogbe. Refusing to be denied, he took advantage of his opportunity at the Owls’ pro day by running a 4.92 40 and putting up 34 reps on the bench press. Dogbe is the ideal late-round risk that the team was comfortable selecting. There are plenty of questions along the interior defensive line for the Cardinals, but Dogbe could prove to be a late-round steal, considering his traits and measurables.
(7th Round) No. 254 – Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
Mr. Irrelevant of the 2019 NFL Draft, Wilson was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster. Arriving in Mobile just in time for the final day of practices for the week, he still managed to have an impact during the only day that he was able to participate. Ricky Seals-Jones was a solid find by the team as an undrafted free agent, and even after signing Charles Clay, the talent at tight end is thin. Wilson has a chance to enter training camp with a real shot at becoming the third tight end on the roster.
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