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Steve Keim: Cardinals Wanted Byron Murphy, And It's Paid Off

Stafford in the division 'raised the stakes'

As good as Kyler Murray has been -- and he's been pretty darn good -- the Cardinals' second pick that season has been pretty good too. Byron Murphy has turned into the team's No.1 cornerback, just won Defensive Player of the Week honors, and GM Steve Keim sees a player who is fulfilling his expectations.

In fact, Keim, during his appearance on the "Burns and Gambo" show Friday on 98.7, Arizona's Sports Station, was asked about the thought process before the pick. Back then, the Cards were expected to take a receiver at some point, and Arizona State's N'Keal Harry was dropping. The Patriots ended up taking Harry with the 32nd and final pick of the first round, with the Cards taking Murphy next. Many were disappointed, but Keim noted it didn't matter.

"(Picking Harry) was never going to happen if Byron Murphy was on the board," Keim said, noting that Murphy had been rated as one of the top 10 players on the Cardinals' board.

-- Keim said this Sunday's game against the Rams "will be a great litmus test for us." That's probably how the rest of the league and media see it too; it seems like the Cards are being considered one of those 3-0 "pretenders" by some at this point.

-- Asked about his thoughts of Matthew Stafford ending up with the Rams, Keim joked that "the first thing I did is call my old cap guy in Detroit and asked why he did that to me." Mike Disner, who was with the Cards for the bulk of Keim's tenure, left to become a vice president in the Lions' front office.

Keim added that Stafford is playing as well as anyone in the league. "You can tell he's not just physically tough, he's mentally tough," Keim said, adding "it's hard to see the fact he's in our division. It just raised the stakes a little higher."

-- The 100-yard day by veteran A.J. Green was good because it showed everyone else what Keim and the team had seen throughout training camp, Keim said. It also underscored the idea the Cards have so many players who can have big games and was a "great indicator how improved Kyler's eyes are" as he sees everyone in the pass routes.

-- The improvement of wide receiver Christian Kirk was natural for a player who "does everything right," Keim said. "As a person and a player, (Kirk) is as good as it gets."

-- Keim said he backed Kliff Kingsbury's decision to try the 68-yard field goal in Jacksonville. "I support our coach, and I support the mindset to be aggressive," he said, adding. "every week there are things that happen you want to take back."

GM Steve Keim talks with WR Christian Kirk before a preseason game in 2021