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A New QB, A QB Trade And Draft Aftermath

The Cardinals made their franchise-shifting pick to start the draft, taking Kyler Murray as their quarterback and later trading away QB Josh Rosen. They bolstered the wide receiver room with three picks at that position. And they ended up with 11 draft picks overall.

There are still needs, GM Steve Keim acknowledged Saturday when it was all over, but "to have the board fall the way it did and to try and stay strict to it and not jump around because of need ... I feel like it felt right the way it fell."

That's easy to say. It's often what is said after the draft. Teams always love who they just picked -- otherwise, why would they have taken them? But I can see it in this case, for two big reasons. For one, the Cards were picking high in each round. You're going to get the better players. Two, some of the picks felt like moves for the best guy on the board. Three receivers in five picks? No offensive lineman until the sixth round? That, to me, is smart. Trust your board. That's what you've put all the time in to build.

(Keim said not to quote him, but after saying the first four picks were all in the top 35 of the Cards' 120 board, WR Hakeem Butler, S Deionte Thompson and WR KeeSean Johnson were all "basically" in the top 60.)

-- Speaking of Johnson, I love that the Cardinals got a receiver named KeeSean Johnson. I love even more that he said it wasn't really because of Keyshawn.

-- Keim said there was no worries about the knee of Alabama safety Deionte Thompson, after reports came out that some teams said he had a degenerative knee issue. He noted there have been players over the years -- players that have ended up in the Hall of Fame -- that were taken off a team's board because of medical projections saying they wouldn't last long in the NFL. Like the athletic part of scouting, Keim said, medical projections can suffer the same fate.

-- Josh Rosen posted an excellent goodbye video Saturday. He's a good kid and I never understood the criticism of him as a person. I never saw anything like that in his year with the Cardinals. I hope he does well in Miami.

-- Rosen on Kyler Murray: "You guys are getting a hell of a player in Kyler Murray. He's going to do great things for the Red Sea."

-- Rosen certainly hasn't lost his sense of humor. At the end of the heartfelt thank-you video to fans and the team, he threw this out there: "Kyler, one more thing: An awesome two-bedroom in Old Town just came on to the market, so let me know if you're interested. I think I can get you a pretty good deal."

-- The Cardinals did finally get to the offensive line with the second of two sixth-round picks. Yes, it's still a position to watch. But the team spent a sixth-round pick (yes, they had a third sixth-rounder) earlier in the offseason in the trade for veteran tackle Marcus Gilbert. They added interior lineman Lamont Gaillard in the draft, they have center A.Q. Shipley coming back from his ACL injury, as well as interior free-agent veteran Max Garcia coming back from the same injury. Morgan State tackle Justin Miles also could turn into something.

But again, they didn't (and shouldn't have) forced picks, and it was not regarded as a strong draft for the offensive line.

"It was almost like there were some really high rated offensive linemen and then it dipped, then some value picks at the back end," Keim said. "Time will tell, but that's how our board fell. we didn't want to pass on a specific player because of need or a depth issue."

-- I've covered three drafts in which the Cardinals have picked Mr. Irrelevant. All three were tight ends. BYU's Tevita Ofahengaue in 2001, Louisville's Gerald Christian in 2015, and now, UCLA's Caleb Wilson in 2019.

-- Since Mr. Irrelevant became a "thing" in 1976 (with the parade and everything) this was the fourth time a team made both the first overall pick and the last Mr. Irrelevant pick. The Texans did it in 2002 (QB David Carr and DT Ahmad Miller), the Colts in 2012 (QB Andrew Luck and one-time Cardinal QB Chandler Harnish) and the Texans again in 2014 (DE Jadaveon Clowney and S Lonnie Ballentine.)

-- Time will tell (and a long time at that) whether this draft can come close to comparing to the Cardinals' 2004 draft. But like that draft, the Cardinals were able to take a lot of players they had ranked very high on their own board. Obviously, every team sees players differently, and rankings doesn't always translate into performance. But the bottom line when you get to pick first in (almost) every round? You are going to get good players sooner than others. The value should always be there.

-- Eleven draft picks are a lot to add. But Keim smiled when asked if it was going to be hard to get them all on the roster.

"Well, we were 3-13, so not as hard as when we were going to the playoffs," Keim said. "But that's the fun part, seeing how these guys fit."

Kyler Murray in a staged photo the day he arrived in Arizona 2019

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