Kyler Murray Now Favored to Go No. 1 Overall to Cardinals
The NFL Combine is more than just a time where former college prospects audition for all 32 teams. It’s a time and place where rumors pick up, and information about free agency and the draft is spread like wildfire.
The latest rumor coming out of Indianapolis is that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is expected to be the first-overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals. Multiple sources have confirmed this rumor, including Tony Pauline from the Draft Analyst and Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Kyler Murray will be the No. 1 overall pick and Josh Rosen will likely be traded before free agency starts. The streets is talking and Washington is the likely landing spot for Rosen.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) March 4, 2019
Not only are NFL minds and media members coming to this conclusion, but top NFL oddsmakers are now as well. According to FanDuel, Murray is currently +125 to go No. 1 overall to the Cardinals. Just a month ago, those odds were as high as +2000 on some betting sites. That is quite a jump in odds and would appear that oddsmakers now have solid news on where Murray will land.
Why Kyler Murray’s Odds Tightened
What caused the significant uptick in hype and noise surrounding Murray? Could it be that he measured in at 5-10, 207 pounds at the NFL Combine? Maybe.
His lack of height was a significant concern to some decision-makers. But now that he is similar in size to Russell Wilson, it likely helped ease the mind of teams looking for quarterbacks.
While there are still questions about his overall size, NFL teams have seen a quarterback at a similar height and weight win in the NFL. He is no longer just an outlier.
More than anything, it is likely that Murray's commitment to football had an impact on these odds. Earlier in the offseason, it wasn't known for sure which direction Murray was leaning. However, we did know that now Arizona Cardinals' head coach Kliff Kingsbury was a fan of the player.
Before Kingsbury was even considered a candidate to be a head coach in the NFL, he called Murray a “freak” and a player he would take with the first overall pick in the draft. Now that Kingsbury owns the pick, he will get the chance to confirm his prior statement:
Kliff Kingsbury with some high praise for OU QB Kyler Murray:— Eric Kelly (@EricKellyTV) October 28, 2018
"Kyler is a freak.....I would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could." pic.twitter.com/aYYamjMu7o
What if Cardinals Pass?
If Murray doesn’t end up in Arizona, the next best odds for him are the Miami Dolphins at +400. That is fascinating, considering that the Dolphins don’t own a selection inside of the top-10. Their first selection doesn’t come until pick No. 13, which means Miami would need to make a significant trade up to acquire Murray.
Another team to monitor in regards to Murray is the Oakland Raiders, who sit at +500 to draft him. According to NBC Sports’ Peter King, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden “loves” Murray and they are a team that “bears watching.”
With the Raiders having three-first round picks, the first of which is at No. 4, the team could be very aggressive in acquiring the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner.
Murray is the most fascinating story in this class, and it does appear he is likely to be picked with the first-overall selection. However, before that can happen, another domino needs to fall.
The Cardinals would need to find a suitor for quarterback Josh Rosen, who the team took with the 10th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. If they can convince a team to trade their first- or second-round pick for Rosen, it will all but guarantee the selection of Murray.
But until then, there is going to be rampant speculation about where the best quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft will land.
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