We’ve known for a while that the Arizona Cardinals have the first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Since the season ended they’ve been on the clock, and things are already getting interesting. And believe it or not, we still have over two months until the NFL Draft. You’re probably wondering, how are things getting interesting?
The Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury on January 8, 2019, to be their head coach. Kingsbury was originally hired to be the offensive coordinator at USC, but he ended up resigning from the position because USC was blocking him from talking to teams in the NFL.
Throughout the process, there has been an interview of Kingsbury at Texas Tech talking about how he would take Kyler Murray if he had the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Funny how this works out because Kingsbury is now the head coach of the Cardinals and has the first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.
In October 2018, Kliff Kingsbury said he would take Kyler Murray as the first pick of the NFL draft if he could.
There's a San Francisco Chronicle report that he's expected to declare and Kingsbury's @AZCardinals are first on the clock 👀 pic.twitter.com/ERF1lFz5qg
— ESPN (@espn) January 10, 2019
Now that you’ve seen the video, where does that lead us for the actual first overall pick of the Draft? Without going through the entire roster and breaking down potential free agents or who might sign with the team, let’s take a look at the legitimate options for the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Staying with the topic at hand, is Kyler Murray an option for the Cardinals? Anyone and everyone is technically an option. Could they really consider a quarterback with the first pick, though? I don’t think that they will, nor should they. Despite how Murray excels with anticipation and creating plays with his feet, the Cardinals can’t give up on Rosen after one season.
Love how long Kyler Murray rides this out. I really thought he was going to give it but he reads the safety the whole time and makes the right call pic.twitter.com/r7XU8NJopX
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 30, 2019
There wasn’t much for Josh Rosen to work with his rookie season. His offensive line was far from good and allowed him to get sacked 45 times. Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald played through injury and Christian Kirk, who was having a promising season, also got injured. It was clear that Rosen and Kirk were building rapport after 43 receptions for 590 yards and three touchdowns. They can certainly build on that.
As big of a storyline as it would be for Murray to go first overall, the possibility of it just doesn’t seem as realistic as other players. It would also be just that, a storyline. It would fill the headlines and could potentially fill the seats with people but would it help fill the record column with wins? I don’t think so. Sorry to break the hearts of anyone that loves Murray, I just don’t see him being the first overall pick.
Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
You want my first overall pick? Here it is. The top player on my big board is Quinnen Williams, and personally, I think he makes a ton of sense for the Cardinals. As they transition to a 3-4 defense, they could certainly consider a pass rusher to go opposite Chandler Jones, but they also need to consider a big body to plug the middle of their defense.
Listed at 6’4″ and 295 pounds, the redshirt sophomore burst out of his shell for the Crimson Tide. He was disruptive to every backfield he faced, and it all started with his explosive first step. By the end of the season, he collected 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. He dominated the competition, and there’s no reason to believe that he can’t do it at the next level, too.
Quinnen Williams is ridiculous (as we all know). Terrific job playing below pad level. Straight bull rush through the left guard. RB tries to help but he counters back inside with club over and gets the sack. Arguably the best player in this class pic.twitter.com/fFBCDYN4eQ
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) November 16, 2018
The play above is just an example of what Williams can do. Every team he played against, he was battling double teams, and even triple teams at times, and was still finding ways to plug the gap and stop plays at the line of scrimmage. Pairing Chandler Jones with Quinnen Williams could lead to plenty of success. Keep in mind that the NFC West has a serious run-first mentality. The Rams have Todd Gurley and the Seahawks led the league in rushing with over 2,500 rushing yards. Lastly, the 49ers have some promise with running back Matt Breida (when healthy), and we’ve yet to see what Jerick McKinnon can do. Despite the league being so focused on the pass, the Cardinals should certainly consider Williams for everything he provides.
Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
Believe it or not, there are people out there that don’t like Nick Bosa because he put a focus on his career and “quit” on his teammates at Ohio State. Regardless of what’s being said, Bosa is still one of the favorites to go first overall.
So I made this thing talking about a specific play on Nick Bosa (EDGE, Ohio State). Before you bash him for not staying home and containing the QB, let me walk you through this one: https://t.co/fSJOx9iApP
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) June 20, 2018
The Combine will be the first time we’ve seen Bosa since the third week of the regular season. He’ll clearly have to test well, and if he does, he could solidify himself as the top option for the Cardinals. I don’t have him ranked at the top of my board, but being second is far from terrible.
As a prospect, Bosa stands 6’4″ and 263 pounds with one of the best pass rush plans of any edge rusher in this class. His hand usage is great, and he’s got the ideal bend to turn the corner and bring down the quarterback. Throughout his career, he played 29 games and tallied 77 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. That’s pretty good for a guy that only played three games this past season. He’s a legitimate option for the Cardinals with the first overall pick. Regardless of where he goes in the draft, he won’t wait long to hear his name called.