With the whole world guessing what the Cardinals should or will do on April 25th, here’s my ranking of what makes the most sense for the Cardinals as of today.
1. Trade Down
- Steve Keim’s fever dream hopefully includes taking advantage of Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders, who own 4 picks in the first 36. All of this Kyler Murray at #1 talk, with Steve Keim more committed to his role of drafting Murray than Daniel Day Lewis playing Lincoln, makes sense if they can land multiple picks in a trade down. This option makes the most sense for the Cardinals to build their roster with holes all over the place, under $40 million in cap space and a weak free agency class. The problem is draft picks were valuable in 2001 so Gruden may not be as ripe for the picking as every other fan base in the NFL believes. Still, there is hope. A draft where the Cardinals end up with 3-4 starters from the first two rounds is exactly what this franchise needs, even when you factor in the risk of trading down from the top spot.
2. Draft Bosa or Williams #1
- The history of #1 overall defensive lineman is not good. Only Myles Garrett from two years ago stands out as the right decision. With that draft still too early to judge, you have to go back to 2011 for the last time the top defensive player drafted in the first round was actually the best defensive player available in the first round. So there is risk in drafting Bosa or Williams, just less risk than drafting Kyler Murray. It also stands to reason that even an underwhelming career from Bosa or Williams would make the Cardinals a better defense, considering their lack of other options at OLB and DL. I think Williams is the better fit but Bosa’s potential is undeniable. Drafting Bosa or Williams may not transform the franchise but either choice would go a long way towards making them a better team.
3. Draft Kyler Murray
- I’m not buying Kyler Murray as the #1 overall pick. The risks in drafting Kyler Murray would be enormous for the franchise. If he struggles and Kingsbury struggles in their first year together, it would be a devastating and bone chillingly embarrassing failure for the franchise. In fact, you can make the case that sticking with Rosen is actually the better bet for Kingsbury as it buys him time to adjust to the NFL and his head coaching role. Drafting Murray puts every single person in the franchise on the hot seat from day 1. Now, Murray could be excellent at which point he’s worth every risk you could possibly take. I have concerns about his intangibles and if you look at the similar sized QB’s he is most often compared to in Brees/Wilson/Mayfield, all have off the charts intangibles. For me, Murray is a risk that is not worth taking especially considering how successfully the Cardinals would have torpedoed Josh Rosen’s trade value with loose lips at the combine.