The 2019 NFL Draft begins Thursday night with the highly anticipated first round.
Fresh off a 3-13 season and a last-place finish in the NFC West, the Arizona Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick. Head coach Steve Wilks was fired and replaced by college coach Kliff Kingsbury, and last season’s No. 10 overall pick, quarterback Josh Rosen, has been as trade bait, according to reports.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray has been penciled in as the Cardinals target for a while. That makes a lot of sense with Kingsbury in place and Arizona needing a franchise quarterback to build around.
This is an Arizona team that hasn’t really hit on first-round quarterback selections with Matt Leinart (No. 10 overall in 2006) being the most recent. Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer have been the steadiest quarterbacks for the franchise in recent times. Otherwise it has been a mixed bag with the likes of Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb, Drew Stanton, John Skelton, Sam Bradford and Blaine Gabbert.
Rosen is likely on his way out. Murray seems to be the pick. But could Arizona be willing to trade down and shake up NFL betting and the entire draft?
Here are some teams that could come calling for the No. 1 selection.
Jon Gruden and the Raiders have a ton of ammo to work with after trades with Chicago and Dallas. Three first-round picks sit in Oakland’s lap at No. 4, No. 24 and No. 27, plus the No. 35 overall pick in the second round.
Derek Carr has had bright moments and many low moments and Gruden always tends to take his quarterback position seriously. Signed through 2022, Carr is set to make just north of $19 million each of the next four seasons. However, he might not be viewed as the long term answer.
The Raiders have so much draft stock to give Arizona, which would help the Cardinals rebuild and take a different quarterback this year or next.
Eli Manning is 38, will make $11.5 million in 2019 and is set to be an unrestricted free agent next spring. There isn’t much left in the tank for the longtime Giants quarterback. With two first-round picks (No. 6 and No. 17) and the No. 37 selection, New York could push for Murray and move into the No. 1 spot. I wouldn’t be shocked to see that happen.
This is another team with a young new head coach in Brian Flores and a quarterback – Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36 – who isn’t the long term solution. With the No. 13 and No. 48 overall picks, Miami has a little bit of leverage. It might set Miami back to move up and take Murray but this team has slid year after year and needs to sell tickets.
With John Elway as general manager and president of football operations, Denver will look at its quarterback position very closely. Joe Flacco is a bridge quarterback who was brought in from Baltimore this offseason, but the Broncos need to develop a young arm. With the No. 10, No. 41 and No. 71 overall selections, Denver could make the leap to No. 1 for a guy like Murray.
Longtime Arizona head coach Bruce Arians is back on the sidelines, now with Tampa Bay. Jameis Winston will be given one last shot on a fifth-year option worth $20.9 million. He has been one of the best quarterbacks at times and one of the worst at other times.
With the No. 5 overall pick, Tampa Bay is primed if it wants to make a move. The Bucs also have the No. 39 and No. 70 selections. This team needs help and Murray would be a big-time pickup for this struggling offense.