The Cardinals, Steve Keim emphasized Tuesday, have yet to make a decision on what to do with the No. 1 pick overall.
The reason was simple. “We have time,” the general manager said during a pre-draft press conference alongside coach Kliff Kingsbury.
There isn’t a lot of time – the draft is a week from Thursday – but there remains work to do. That includes the team’s Top 120 board, which Keim said has yet to be built and which will provide the player rankings with which the Cardinals will conduct their draft.
There are a number of players that the Cardinals think are worthy of the No. 1 pick, Keim said. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams and Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa are two possibilities. But Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is also in the discussion – not that Keim was going to acknowledge such.
Keim said he wouldn’t get into any hypotheticals in his opening statement and stuck with it. Asked why he was open to drafting a quarterback a year after taking Josh Rosen in the first round, Keim was blunt. “I never said I was.” Then you’re not open to taking a quarterback? “I didn’t say that,” Keim replied.
Keim also was deft in talking about Murray’s baseball abilities and the concern that Murray could abandon his NFL career to play baseball if things weren’t going well.
“Whoever drafts him is certainly going to have to address that,” Keim said. So did it come up when Murray made his visit to Tempe? “Maybe,” Keim said.
Keim did dispute a recent report connected to Murray. He said Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, did not accompany Murray on his visit to the Cardinals.
As for incumbent starter Rosen, Kingsbury said Rosen already has a “good grasp” of the offense Kingsbury has installed over the week-plus that players have returned to meetings. Both Kingsbury and Keim had praise with how Rosen has handled the constant speculation about the quarterback spot and the potential of drafting Murray.
“He couldn’t have been better, honestly,” Kingsbury said. “First one to show up, engaging, into it, very sharp. I can’t say enough good things about my interactions with Josh so far.”
Added Keim, “We’ve had good dialogue. He is a pro’s pro, and the one thing I have appreciated about him the most since we drafted him is he has an unbelievable amount of mental toughness.”
Keim said there has been interest in teams wanting to trade for the No. 1 pick, but declined to get into specifics. The GM wouldn’t rule out a trade, noting that it always hinges on the haul back and the opportunity cost in missing out on what in this draft would be the Cardinals’ best player on the board.
“I get excited (talking trade). I like to do deals,” Keim said. “But at the same time, I like good players.”
In the meantime, the work to create the 120 board can commence. Kingsbury said while he can use his Big 12 connections to help in the scouting process for players from that conference, he is deferring to Keim and the scouts to prepare for the draft. Keim, for his part, said he learned long ago it made little sense to force any draft picks down a coach’s throat, since it inevitably causes a problem for the player as soon as he arrives.
Anything can still happen before the draft, Keim insisted – no matter what reports might be floating around.
“The fact that we don’t know what we’re doing but everyone else does, that’s concerning,” Keim said with a smile.
MOVE FOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
The Cardinals made a move on the offensive line, releasing the recently-signed Jeremiah Poutasi and signing Brant Weiss, who had been with the team through training camp last season and, like Poutasi, played in the AAF.