The fact Kyler Murray, Heisman-winning Oklahoma quarterback and Major League Baseball first-round pick, officially dumped baseball Monday to chase an NFL dream certainly ratcheted up conversation about his place in April’s NFL draft and what it might mean for the Cardinals – owner of the No. 1 overall selection.
That isn’t lost on team president Michael Bidwill.
“It’s great when we have new players and new excitement around our game that will cause people to speculate and talk,” Bidwill said during an appearance on the “Doug and Wolf” show on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station. “It’s good for the talk radio industry, you guys have hours and hours to talk about him.”
The Cardinals spent last season starting then-rookie Josh Rosen at quarterback after selecting him 10th overall in 2018. Bidwill was asked if the organization felt the need to reach out to Rosen with Murray talk in play, particularly the speculation that the Cardinals could consider drafting Murray themselves.
“Josh is a smart guy, he’s been around and he’s seen what happens year in and year out,” Bidwill said. “There’s always a lot of speculation that turns out to not be true. But moving forward, we’re going to continue to build this team and build around the foundation that we have.”
While there have been connections made between Murray and new coach Kliff Kingsbury, one of the main topics during the Cardinals’ coaching interview process was to have candidates map out their plan to turn Rosen into the long-term quarterback answer.
In Kingsbury’s case, Bidwill said, the coach actually asked to break down video with Bidwill, GM Steve Keim and scout Adrian Wilson to show the things Rosen needed to improve and what Kingsbury could do to make Rosen successful.
“Of all the coaches, he was the only one to say, ‘Bring the tape, we’re going to break down the tape,’ ” Bidwill said.
The Cardinals have multiple options for their pick at No. 1 overall, the first time since 1958 the team has held that spot. Most mock drafts have the Cards taking pass rusher Nick Bosa or perhaps fellow pass rusher Josh Allen, but there also could be a potential to trade down – especially if Murray does well at the Scouting combine and throws some chaos into the top part of the draft.
Bidwill wasn’t discussing names, but he did say he had a type he’d like to see his franchise select first.
“They’ve got to be an incredible athlete on the field,” Bidwill said. “You want somebody, especially with the number one pick, that you can look at and say, ‘This person is going to be here for 8-to-10 years and be an anchor at their position and be a real leader in our organization.
“It’s where the heart is and where the head is. Are they playing the game for money, or are they playing the game because they love the game. That’s the kind of person you want with your first-round pick.”
Bidwill also spoke about the drive he has to wash away the bad taste of the 2018 season.
“I can tell you, 3-13 is certainly a great motivator,” Bidwill said. “Failure, and especially epic failure like last year, remains a great motivator for me to get this turned around fast and keep as much pressure internally on the people making decisions to push things forward.”