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KylerOralHistory-v5-NEW
Drafting Kyler Murray: Inside The Cardinals’ Game-Changing QB Swap
An oral history of the momentous decision
By Kyle Odegard Apr 20, 2020
Photographs By AP/Arizona Cardinals. Illustration by Sandy McAfee.


The Cardinals are becoming a trendy pick to make the playoffs in 2020.

A year ago, that would have been hard to believe.

Kyler Murray has shifted perception in the desert. The young quarterback is threatening to become the NFL's next breakout star. In hindsight, taking him No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft was a no-brainer, but at the time, it was a divisive decision.

Josh Rosen was entering his second season, and despite a subpar rookie campaign, still held promise as a former top-10 pick. Would the Cardinals really pull the plug on their 2018 first-round quarterback that quickly?

This oral history chronicles the three-and-a-half months leading up to the Cardinals' draft-day selection. Interviews have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

The Cardinals finished with the worst record in the NFL in 2018, resulting in the dismissal of coach Steve Wilks after a year on the job. On Jan. 8, 2019, Kliff Kingsbury was hired to breathe life into a lackluster offense — one still widely expected to have Rosen at the helm.

Michael Bidwill, Cardinals owner: We were basically dealing with a lot of big problems. At the end of 2018, it was: Are we going to make a change at head coach? What are the other big issues? We were sort of fighting the biggest fires first.

Steve Keim, Cardinals general manager: When Michael and I talked about it philosophically, the way we approached it was, we're going to find an offensive head coach who is a playcaller and match them with a quarterback of the future.

Kliff Kingsbury, Cardinals coach: I knew why they hired me. That was to improve an offense. They felt like they had a franchise quarterback in place, and trying to help develop him, that was my job and that's what I was working on.

Michael Bidwill: I think there was a perception outside the organization that coach Kingsbury came in here lobbying. Absolutely not. From the very beginning, he knew the deal was that Josh Rosen was going to be our quarterback. This wasn't like a package deal, where if you're going to hire me, wink-wink, we're going to draft Kyler. No. We were very clear. We're sticking with Josh, because we didn't want to raise the expectation that that was going to happen. The scouts had not gone through their process. If you ask Coach, who did he want to take and why? He would tell you, but he never once lobbied.

Steve Keim: We knew that he had a relationship with Kyler, but he trusted the process throughout the spring. He never tried to pound the table and say, 'We need this guy.' He respected everybody's opinion.

Kliff Kingsbury: I take a lot of pride in coaching that position, developing that position. I love that aspect of it. So I was excited to work with Josh. I still think Josh has a tremendous skillset and has a chance to be a great quarterback in this league.

On Jan. 9, a day after Kingsbury's hire, speculation about a pairing with Murray began. The previous October, while the coach of Texas Tech, Kingsbury said he would take the then-Oklahoma quarterback No. 1 overall in the draft if he could. Incredibly, it was now a possibility.

Kliff Kingsbury: I'm big on manifesting things, but that was a little much. That was kind of a glitch in the matrix.

Christian Kirk, Cardinals receiver: People kind of took that and ran with it. It was just weird because we had just drafted Josh, and you'd never really seen a team take a QB at 10 and the next year take another one at 1. So it was kind of like, 'Oh, there's no way. I mean, we'd love to have him, but there's no way.'

Kevin Murray, Kyler's father: Kliff has had a real fascination with Kyler. I've known that for years. He respected his game, respected him as a person -- but that doesn't translate to him taking the kid as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

While the dots were already being connected, Murray wasn't yet a lock to play professional football. The Oakland Athletics drafted him No. 9 overall in the 2018 MLB draft and gave him a $4.6 million signing bonus contingent on pursuing baseball. On Jan. 14, Murray declared for the NFL draft but kept both options open while evaluating his football stock.

Kyler Murray, Cardinals quarterback: When I declared, they had the mock drafts coming out probably every other day. I think I was sitting around, like, 32. Five-foot-10 quarterbacks don't really go that high, and at the time, they didn't even really know how tall I was. They were always questioning it. I thought anywhere as low as second round to end of the first, or something like that. Realistically, I thought that was kind of where it was headed.

Kevin Murray: I knew after his senior season at Oklahoma, after he won the Heisman, that there was a real good possibility he'd be in the first round.

Missy Murray, Kyler's mother: Everybody kept asking him, which one is it? Which one are you going to choose?

Kliff Kingsbury: I felt like football was where his heart was at. I'd known him a long time, known his dad a long time, and I felt like he wanted to continue that run, once he realized it was a real possibility to be a top pick and be the face of a franchise.

On Feb. 11, Murray officially pledged his future to football.

Erik Burkhardt, Murray and Kingsbury's agent: I was recruiting him, but baseball was always a big question. I didn't even know Kyler was going to play football until literally when I signed him.

Kyler Murray: The mock drafts had me at 13 to the Dolphins. Something like that. It was a first- or second-round kind of deal, and as a kid you're not going to want to go third- or fourth-round in the NFL draft when you got picked in the first round of the MLB draft. So that was kind of the thought. But at the same time, I knew it would kill me to not give my all to football when the opportunity was there. That's what I've been wanting to do my whole life. At the end of the day, my love for the game just kind of trumped it all.

Erik Burkhardt: Together we drafted his statement that he was all in on football. Then people were like, 'Oh, (expletive), Kyler just signed with Kliff's agent. They have the first pick. Is that a possibility?' That got a lot of run. I remember thinking, 'Oh, wow, people are really trying to piece this together.'

On Feb. 12, a day after Murray chose the NFL, Kingsbury met with the media in Arizona. Asked about the prospect of drafting Murray, Kingsbury attempted to quiet the chatter by complimenting Rosen. "Our feelings toward Josh haven't waned or changed," Kingsbury said. "Josh is our guy." Many saw it as pre-draft subterfuge.

Kevin Murray: Believe very little of what you hear.

Chase Edmonds, Cardinals running back: Honestly, when I read that, knowing what I know about the business, I didn't buy it. Because knowing Kliff's offense and knowing the personnel you need for the offense, it wouldn't have made logical football sense to say Josh is our guy when in fact Kyler was the better fit for the scheme. If it would have come from the GM, I would have bought more into it.

Kingsbury maintains the Cardinals were still early in the evaluation process.

Kliff Kingsbury: We weren't anywhere close to a decision at this point. This league, as everybody knows, is day-to-day anyway. I know that got some run, but that wasn't some sort of smokescreen. That was just the situation we were in.

Erik Burkhardt: Kyler and I didn't want him to go to a place where it wasn't unanimous, and I didn't want that for Kliff, either. I didn't want Kliff to want him, but the GM and owner not feel great about it. If we didn't have their support, Kliff and Kyler were both going to fail. You want the owner to feel great about his No. 1 overall pick, much less his quarterback.

On Feb. 27, Keim was asked about Rosen at the NFL Scouting combine, and his answer made waves. "Is Josh Rosen our quarterback?" Keim said. "Yeah, he is right now, for sure." That extra two-word qualifier pushed the Murray conjecture into overdrive.

You never say never. Although at the time I probably thought drafting Murray was unlikely, we saw that things can change.

- Steve Keim on calling Josh Rosen the Cardinals' QB "right now" at the 2019 combine.

Kliff Kingsbury: I did not know that was coming. I don't think Steve thought he was going to say anything like that.

Steve Keim: It slipped a little bit. It was more about, you don't want to commit to something when there's always a chance. In this business, you never say never. Although at the time I probably thought drafting Murray was unlikely, we saw that things can change.

Kliff Kingsbury: We didn't know what the situation was, and he was tired of getting asked the same question over and over and over, so he answered it honestly.

Steve Keim: Maybe the way it turned out, it was sort of an indicator for people, but at the time, I felt like there was a little bit more made of it than there should have been. ... At that point in time, I hadn't even watched Murray on tape.

Even though Murray won the Heisman Trophy, many analysts believed his diminutive stature would be an issue in the NFL. While everyone knew Murray was short, the question was: how short? At the combine, he officially measured in at 5-foot-10 and 207 pounds, roughly the same size as Russell Wilson.

Kyler Murray at the NFL Scouting combine.
Kyler Murray at the NFL Scouting combine.

Kliff Kingsbury: If they would have said 5-6 it wouldn't have mattered. I watched him for a lot of years and know what he can do. He never was affected by height or getting balls batted down. That just wasn't anything that showed up, so the height wasn't going to change my mind at all.

Steve Keim: There were 6-foot-5 quarterbacks drafted in the first round that had triple the balls batted down. I think he had five batted down his last year at Oklahoma. He has that natural instinct to slide and find those windows.

Kevin Murray: I've seen a whole lot of 6-3, 6-4 kids that can't play. Do you want somebody that can play, or do you want somebody that can fit the measurables?

The Cardinals were intrigued enough to interview Murray at the combine, which was the first time Keim and Bidwill met him face-to-face.

Steve Keim: I really liked the player when we talked to him in Indy. It sort of catapulted into the evaluation process, where I was able to watch the film.

Erik Burkhardt: When I talked to Steve, I said, 'When you go watch tape of my client, all I ask is that you keep an objective and open mind to what you're watching. Throw all the other (expletive) out. If he's a game-changer, it doesn't matter who else you have on the roster, or what you did last year, or if Carson Palmer wants to come out of retirement. You take LeBron James. I don't care who plays the '2' or the '3' for the Cavaliers. You take LeBron.'

KylerOralHistory-Binoculars

Steve Keim: My perception going into the evaluation was that he was a tremendous athlete. Didn't know what kind of pure passer he really was. I watched the tape and couldn't believe the kind of arm talent – the accuracy, the velocity, the ball placement he could throw with.

Kyler Murray: Things started kicking up.

Kliff Kingsbury: It just kind of snowballed.

Steve Keim: I liked him, obviously, a lot more than I was hoping.

On March 13, Murray held his Pro Day at the University of Oklahoma. While the Cardinals sent scouts to watch, Bidwill, Keim and Kingsbury were noticeably absent. Instead, the trio arranged a workout six days later for a more intimate evaluation.

Michael Bidwill: There was a lot of speculation about, we weren't there, and what signal does that send? We wanted a private workout. That was the signal.

Kliff Kingsbury: It was awesome to have Michael be a part of that. He flies his own plane down there and then he literally drives us in the rental car to the workout. Talk about hands-on.

Michael Bidwill: Out on the field, watching him throw the ball -- there are few quarterbacks that can sling it like he can, and I was really impressed with that. I didn't expect that out of a 5-10 quarterback.

Steve Keim: Until you see it in person, and hear the ball come out, and watch the way it jumps out of his hand – that really changes a lot of things. His ability to generate speed and force from that small frame is amazing.

Michael Bidwill: We asked him all those questions about baseball. That was something we wanted.

Steve Keim: You could tell in his eyes that football was his passion.

Michael Bidwill: On the airplane on the way back, once we had a chance to talk privately, that's where a lot of things came together. But there was still more work to do. It wasn't a done deal at that point. It was, 'Wow, he answered a lot of questions. Now we've got to continue the due diligence.'

Kliff Kingsbury: I do feel like that was kind of a turning point.

Erik Burkhardt: Frankly, I didn't think Kyler had one of his better days. It just shows you I got a little bit spoiled. But when Kliff walked out he kind of looked at me, and that's when it's like, 'Oh my God, this is a possibility.'

On April 8 – less than three weeks before the draft -- the Cardinals' offseason program began, allowing Kingsbury his first chance to meet the entire team. When the players took the field, Rosen trotted out as the starting quarterback.

The Cardinals quarterback room was Charles Kanoff (left), Josh Rosen (center) and Brett Hundley when offseason work began in 2019.
The Cardinals quarterback room was Charles Kanoff (left), Josh Rosen (center) and Brett Hundley when offseason work began in 2019.

Kliff Kingsbury: Josh did a great job with it. At that point, who knew what was going to happen? So we went about it as business as usual.

Chase Edmonds: As a player, it's an unwritten rule. You're not going to speak on these things. You obviously want to show full support for your current quarterback.

Erik Burkhardt: Kliff liked Josh when he met him. He felt good about him during the OTA process and all the offseason work. He was like, 'I'll win with this guy.' It was all positive with Josh.

Christian Kirk: We were out there installing the offense, in meetings. Everything was normal. There are rumors -- guys talking -- but nothing from upstairs. Not that we were left in the dark, but that's their decision to make. That's their job, and we're down here installing the offense and learning the playbook.

Chase Edmonds: I'm getting people texting me like, 'Yo, what do you think y'all are going to do?' I'm like, 'Look, bro, I don't know.'

Josh Rosen to Sports Illustrated, a week before the draft: It's annoying, but it is what it is. Football's a business, and I definitely respect the higher-ups and their decisions. We won three games, and each one of those wins — to me, it felt like we won the Super Bowl. And that feeling is so intoxicating, and that's why I just want nothing more than to be part of a team next year and have the same opportunities to go out and compete.

Christian Kirk: To be honest, I felt like, 'This is the core that we'll have.' Obviously you have the possibility of us drafting Kyler in the back of your mind, but you have to think that Josh was brought here for a reason, just like all of us. I wouldn't say it felt like Josh was on borrowed time.

Chase Edmonds: It started to get awkward like two weeks prior. You can't not see it. You're in the cafeteria, and you've got the damn TV on, and it's the biggest storyline. It's like, 'OK, this is on the TV, so let's all make up some (expletive) and say something. Keep your eyes down.' That's when it started to get like, 'Damn. I think this is going to happen.'

Christian Kirk: We see the mock drafts, all that stuff, and it's like, 'Dang, everybody has us taking Kyler. This might really be happening.'

Once the draft evaluations were complete, Keim and Bidwill met privately. Even though much of the country had long assumed Murray was the choice, the pick had yet to be finalized. With the draft approaching, the duo sat down to reach a verdict.

Arizona Cardinals chairman and president Michael J. Bidwill looks on from the sideline with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019 in Los Angeles. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-24. (Paul Spinelli via AP)

Michael Bidwill: The speculation was insane. Somebody would just make something up and put it out there. Sometimes it would happen three times a day. It got to a point where it was humorous, because we couldn't believe how much people were overreacting to unverified, total speculation. People would say, 'I've got a guy inside.'

Steve Keim: Sometimes I wonder, 'Who's the GM if these things are being reported? Because I didn't know that.'

Michael Bidwill: For me, it was about staying deliberate with our evaluations, looking at the whole picture, evaluating the other top prospects, and then trying to make the best decision we could.

Steve Keim: We talked it through a million times.

Chase Edmonds: It was such a big gamble. You have someone like Nick Bosa who you can just take and pair up with Chandler Jones.

Kliff Kingsbury: We all loved Nick Bosa. I've said it a million times. If you could have had both of them, we would have done anything. He's a phenomenal player. Loved everything about him. Loved his visit. Loved his personality.

Steve Keim: You look back and Bosa was Defensive Rookie of the Year. But in that situation, moving forward as an organization, this guy touches the ball on every snap.

Michael Bidwill: It was a bold decision. I thought it was the best decision.

Steve Keim: We were convinced Murray was the right pick, so we were excited. But at the same time, there does come risk with it. Whether it was him or a defensive player, whichever route we went, the No. 1 pick comes with a lot of pressure. When you're the owner and when you're the GM, it's what it's all about. We took a huge risk and a huge gamble. It had to pay off.

Michael Bidwill: We decided – and this was something we felt like was really important because of all the speculation and the false reports – that Steve and I would just keep the decision quiet. We didn't line up those top three players on our draft board in the order we were actually going to take them. Steve told everybody in the war room, because of all the speculation, that they're up there alphabetically.

Erik Burkhardt: Steve was very poker-faced. He played it cool with me the whole time.

Even though Kingsbury stayed quiet during the evaluation process, his preference was always clear. He coached Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech, but was never able to coax Murray to Lubbock. Now it was time for Bidwill and Keim to tell him the union would happen in the NFL.

Michael Bidwill: We were not in the draft room. I remember that. I don't remember if it was his office or Steve's office or mine, but he was very happy. He's not the most expressive guy sometimes, but he was pretty darn happy. He knew, OK, let's keep it cool, keep it between the three of us. But he was excited, and I remember he looked at me and said, 'I promise we're making the right decision.'

Steve Keim: He's a reserved guy, but don't kid yourself. It's like the kid that got the Xbox at Christmas. He got that new toy and he was ready to roll.

While the Cardinals believed Murray was fully dedicated to football, they needed it in writing. Keim contacted Burkhardt to finalize the deal.

Steve Keim: One of the benefits with having the first pick is you have the ability to negotiate the contract prior to the selection, which we did. We had an agreement in place, and there were some other things that would go into it – some of the language you wanted to have in there that protects you from him playing professional baseball, which was important to us.

Erik Burkhardt: I remember I was in Nashville when we hammered out the specifics, so I think it was a day or two before the draft. We worked out the language, and like, I represent the head coach, so I told Kevin, Kyler and his mom, 'We're good. It's done.' And Kevin is still like, 'It ain't never done, bro.' And it's true. Who knows if their phone rings and they get three first-rounders to go down one slot?

Kevin Murray: Burkhardt would say, 'I talked to Keim and blah, blah, we're going to Phoenix.' I said, 'Bruh, I'm from the Show-Me State. I'm from Missouri. Don't tell me. Show me.'

Kliff Kingsbury: We had a good feel for what we were going to do, but I really don't think Kyler believed he was being taken No. 1 until his name was called.

Kyler Murray: I wasn't going to be all-in until I got the phone call.

On April 23, Murray attended the festivities in Nashville with his family, decked out in a Great Gatsby-inspired three-piece suit. Tens of thousands of fans lined the streets and millions watched from home. Bidwill, Keim and Kingsbury sat inside the war room at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center in Tempe, preparing to share their selection with the world.

Kyler Murray walks the red carpet prior to last year's draft.
Kyler Murray walks the red carpet prior to last year's draft.

Erik Burkhardt: Before we left the hotel, I'm in Kyler's room and he's getting dressed. I think it was all three of them – Kliff, Steve and Michael – they called me and they're like, 'Listen, don't get nervous, but we're going to let some time go off the clock.' You know, build some anticipation.

Kevin Murray: Kyler was fine up until he got to the green room and the Cardinals were on the clock. Then my wife had to remind him: breathe, breathe, breathe. At one point we thought he was hyperventilating.

Erik Burkhardt: The commissioner says 'Arizona is on the clock.' I remember one minute goes by. After two minutes, Kyler looks up at me like, 'Bro, what the (expletive)?' I was like, 'Dude, I told you they were going to let five minutes run off,' but it still felt like the weight of the world.

Kyler Murray: I've never felt like that in my life. Well, maybe once in my life, before my first high school varsity game. My heart was beating. It was crazy.

Erik Burkhardt: At one point I texted Kliff and I was like, 'Enough, bro. Make the (expletive) pick.' I think I texted Kliff and Steve: 'MAKE THE (EXPLETIVE) PICK!' All caps, exclamation point. It had probably only been two minutes before I sent the text, but it felt like an hour and a half.

Michael Bidwill: The rest of the room found out when I said to Steve, 'OK, let's call Kyler.' That's when they learned. Coach knew. But the rest of the room, we just didn't want to have it leak. We had kept it secret that long. We felt like, let's not spoil the surprise here. Let's make sure it's all right there on the NFL Network for all the fans that had tuned in. We'd been waiting long enough, and then everybody saw Kyler in his pink suit getting the phone call.

QB Kyler Murray receives the phone call confirming he would be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
QB Kyler Murray receives the phone call confirming he would be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Kyler Murray: The moment I dreamed of my whole life.

Missy Murray: When he hugged his dad, that was the cherry on top of all the hard work since he was five years old. His dad had the vision before he was even old enough to spell football. When they were hugging, I could see that Kyler was emotional and Dad was emotional. These are two non-emotional, pretty tough guys. I was like, 'Wow, this is it. He was born to do this.'

After the selection, the focus turned to Rosen's future. Prior to the draft, Kingsbury phoned to tell him the Cardinals were taking Murray No. 1 overall.

Kliff Kingsbury: It definitely was a difficult call. I'd grown to really like him. I'd been around him most of the offseason. Once again, I think he has a great skillset and has a chance to be a really good player in this league. So that conversation wasn't easy, but he handled it really well.

Christian Kirk: I was watching the draft at my house, and I remember going downstairs and I actually ran into Josh. We were living in the same building. We were both like, 'It really happened.' We knew the possibility was there, but I wasn't told anything. I was like, 'How are you doing?' He's like, 'I'm doing good. It's part of it.'

Josh Rosen to Sports Illustrated, after the draft: My heart really didn't believe it was going to happen until a couple minutes before it happened. Common sense sort of kicked in then, but my heart didn't want to believe it.

Chase Edmonds: I was at the stadium. You could see some fans didn't like it. Obviously they now love it, but don't let them say they were always on board, because there were some fans I saw that were like, 'What the (expletive)?'

On April 24, Rosen was dealt to the Dolphins for a second-round pick which became wide receiver Andy Isabella and a 2020 fifth-rounder the Cardinals eventually traded back to Miami for running back Kenyan Drake. The move accelerated $8.2 million of dead money onto the Cardinals' salary cap.

Michael Bidwill: My job is to look at the long-term best interest of the team. There are going to be times when you've decided you're going to move in a different direction. This one was not only aggressive, but financially it was a big pill to swallow. But we swallowed it and moved forward.

Christian Kirk: It's the nature of the business. That was the impressive part about Josh. He knew it was part of the business. He still had a lot of ball left in front of him. And shortly after, Kyler is in the building and we're running the same offense with another guy. We had Josh the week before, and here comes Kyler.

Chase Edmonds: As a football player, I thought it was the right call, because it's about scheme. It's not that Josh isn't a talented quarterback, but if you're switching to an offense where you're going to be doing the RPOs, you should probably get a quarterback that can run. To me, there was no question, if you're looking at analytics or from a front office perspective. But when you add in the fans and the media, then it looks like, 'Oh, you're going to give up on your first-round quarterback. You didn't give him a fair chance to play.' But it's like, 'Look, bro, if we're going to run this offense, we've got to be all in.' You can't hire Kliff and then give him a quarterback that he doesn't think is best-suited for his offense.

Steve Keim: It's a quarterback-driven league, and if you're a general manager that can't find the right quarterback, you're not going to have a job very long. Carson Palmer made me look really, really smart for a number of years. And then there was a year or two that I didn't look so smart. As Bruce Arians would say, that ride from the penthouse to the outhouse is quick. But you've just got to be confident. Fortunately for us, we had the first pick at the right time, and we think we took the right player.

Erik Burkhardt: Ultimately the decision was made that you don't pass on (expletive) LeBron James.

The unconventional decision was not immediately embraced -- "We took a lot of heat," Keim said – and the concerns seemed accurate midway through the season opener. The Cardinals trailed the Detroit Lions, 17-3, at intermission, and Murray was 6-of-16 passing for 41 yards and an interception.

Michael Bidwill: I'll tell you what. That was the time where I felt some tension and pressure. That game, the balls are getting batted down, and it's like, 'Uh oh.'

Christian Kirk: Not this again.

Steve Keim: The first half, I wanted to dig my way out of Michael's suite.

Kliff Kingsbury: I was thinking, 'I can't believe I just bought that house.' I had to sell it. I take a lot of responsibility for not really executing our offense in preseason and giving those guys a good feel for what we were trying to do. It definitely showed up in that first game. That first half, I was starting to wonder if I was going to have a job after that game.

Steve Keim: In the second half it was refreshing, because it was like, 'OK, this is why we picked this guy No. 1.'

Kliff Kingsbury: It was fun to come back in that game, and I think it showed everybody a lot of what he's about -- the mental toughness -- because it was about as bad as you could have for that first half. And then he came back and played his tail off.

Christian Kirk: Yeah, we tied, but that felt like a moral win.

Murray's rookie season was an unabashed success. He sparked a dramatic offensive turnaround and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. While his career arc is far from finalized, the trajectory is promising.

QB Kyler Murray had a pair of impressive games against the NFC champion 49ers in 2019.
QB Kyler Murray had a pair of impressive games against the NFC champion 49ers in 2019.

Kevin Murray: You heard it. I heard it. Steve heard it. Mr. Bidwill heard it: 'It's not going to work. Oh, they're bad.' And now everybody is looking forward to next year.

Steve Keim: Throughout the season, we saw a lot of different things that pointed in the direction that he's going to be a great player. Really, now our mindset is, 'OK, how good can he be?' He's a great kid, but young players all have to develop, particularly at that position.

Kliff Kingsbury: I'm just thrilled to be able to work with him and share this journey with him. I always felt like the upside to what he could be as a quarterback was spectacular, and now we get to find out how far we can take this thing.

Erik Burkhardt: Steve Keim, more than anybody else, deserves tremendous credit. It's both: the hiring of Kliff, a quote-unquote losing college head coach who just got fired from Texas Tech, and then he turns around and takes Kyler. It was unconventional. I think he's got the biggest balls in the NFL.

Chase Edmonds: What Keim and Mr. Bidwill and Kliff did, they started something that changed the way drafts will be forever. Teams now, if you get a first-round quarterback and you're not in love with him, it's not going to be an unusual thing to draft another. Especially because it paid off for us. If Kyler came in and was a huge bust, it would have been, 'Well, that (expletive) is never going to happen again.' But Kyler wins Rookie of the Year. He changes this offense and he changes this team. It looks like the best gamble ever.

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