His name is at the top of innumerable mock drafts, and the Cardinals haven’t dispelled non-stop rumors linking them, holders of the envious top pick, to Kyler Murray.
But if Arizona did decide to pass on the defending Heisman winner in favor of Josh Rosen during next week’s NFL Draft — despite newly minted head coach Kliff Klingsbury being perhaps the Oklahoma standout’s No. 1 fan — how far would he fall?
The San Francisco 49ers and Jets, owners of the next two picks, figure to be set at quarterback. Perhaps Jon Gruden’s Raiders would eschew an attractive crop of defensive prospects for Murray, especially with confidence in Derek Carr sinking. If not Oakland, then Tampa Bay and the ever-so quarterback-needy Giants — who hosted the 5-foot-10er just last week — could pounce despite their tendencies to lean toward taller signal-callers.
“…He could possibly fall all the way out of the first round,” recently said Aaron Taylor, former Super Bowl champion and current CBS Sports analyst. “You cannot deny the perfect match of [Klingsbury’s] offensive philosophy, style and skillset.”
While Murray lacks the size NFL front offices adore, his arm and elite running skills have propelled him into top-5 pick potential. Murray, who spurned MLB and the Oakland Athletics for the gridiron, threw for 42 touchdowns, 4,361 yards, while rushing for 1,001 yards and 12 scores in the defense-less Big 12.
It’s difficult to fathom Murray fulfilling Taylor’s prophecy, especially with a quarterback class lacking in skill and depth. And Murray seems confident himself that he’ll be swept off the draft board early after pulling out of a visit with the Redskins, who are slated to pick No. 15.