Cardinals GM Steve Keim must weigh options with top pick in NFL Draft — including trading it away

As soon as this week’s NFL Draft is over, run for the hills if Steve Keim invitations you to affix him in a poker sport. The Cardinals common supervisor has up to now proven an excellent poker face, hiding nicely his intentions on what he’ll do with the group’s first total decide.

Will Keim choose quarterback Kyler Murray, or follow quarterback Josh Rosen and choose one of many prime defenders – doubtless Nick Bosa? Or will he commerce out of the highest spot?

After a lot hypothesis and rumors about Arizona’s transfer, we’ll quickly have the reply. We could not understand it till the Cardinals are on the clock Thursday evening.

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I imagine Keim’s first alternative – which might be my choice if I have been him – is to commerce the decide if he can get a king’s ransom. He’d desire a bundle just like what the Titans acquired in 2016 (two No.1s, two No. 2s and two No. 3s in return for the highest decide, plus a fourth- and sixth-round decide) when the Rams moved as much as the highest spot to pick out franchise quarterback in Jared Goff.

So many elements should be thought of on this dialogue. I begin with Keim having thought so extremely of Rosen that he parted with third- and fifth-round picks to maneuver up 5 spots and choose him at No. 10 total in final yr’s draft. Keim included a $10.9 million greenback signing bonus in Rosen’s rookie deal, and the Cardinals must take up a $14.four million useless cash hit to their cap in the event that they commerce Rosen.

Additional damaging is that, in return, they in all probability would get solely a second-round decide and presumably as little as a 3rd (that maybe may enhance to a second rounder primarily based on productiveness) after Rosen’s rookie 66.7 passer score (not fully his fault, contemplating his supporting forged).

Group homeowners such because the Bidwill household in Arizona don’t love paying out giant signing bonuses to a participant who winds up one and performed with their group. Keim is aware of that might not be a boon to his long run job safety except he picks Murray and he develops into the following Patrick Mahomes.

Cardinals keep with Kyler Murray at No. 1, chips fall into place after

The safer transfer for Keim is to commerce out of the highest spot and use the additional draft picks to offer Rosen with extra offensive weapons within the passing sport (no receiver had greater than 734 receiving yards or six receiving touchdowns), improved safety (Rosen was sacked 45 occasions final season) and bolstered run assist (worst within the league in 2018). With sufficient of a draft haul, Keim additionally may fortify the league’s 20th-ranked protection.

One other key angle entails new coach Kliff Kingsbury. His offensive system appears to be an ideal match for Murray’s versatile ability set because it was for Mahomes when he performed for Kingsbury at Texas Tech. Kingsbury has been effusive in his reward of Murray with latest feedback comparable to, “While you watch him play, he can run it, he can throw it, he is a competitor. He is one of many higher twin risk gamers to ever play.”

If Kingsbury had solely made these statements since becoming a member of the Cardinals, one may surmise it is partially a smokescreen to entice different groups to up the ante in the event that they need to commerce as much as get Murray. However Kingsbury has made comparable statements courting again to when he coached in school, simply final yr saying, “Kyler, he’s a freak. He is phenomenal. I might take him with the primary decide within the draft if I may.”

However that is Keim’s name, not Kingsbury’s, even when a GM all the time desires his coach’s enter. If Keim cannot safe a proposal ample sufficient to half with the highest decide, it creates a tough state of affairs for him. He has to have the ability to persuade himself (and certain group president Michael Bidwill) that Murray is a particular expertise and a much bigger sport changer for the franchise than Rosen, together with a stout defensive addition.

Contemplating what the Cardinals have invested in Rosen, each financially and with draft capital, do not be shocked if the ultimate determination is that it is too expensive to take Murray and dump Rosen.

This may very well be a repeat of the 2017 draft, when Cleveland went in opposition to well-liked opinion that had them choosing a quarterback with the No. 1 total decide after they had a serious want on the place. It was speculated to be both Mitch Trubisky, Mahomes or Deshaun Watson – however the Browns as a substitute took prime rated defensive finish Myles Garrett.

The GM who made the Garrett decide, Sashi Brown, was fired later that yr. Nevertheless it labored out nicely for his successor, John Dorsey, who picked a possible star quarterback in Baker Mayfield No. 1 total in final yr’s draft. Garrett additionally turned a Professional Bowler with 13.5 sacks final season.

MORE: How passing on Kyler Murray would shake up the 2019 NFL Draft

On this state of affairs, Keim would decide the highest edge-rusher in Bosa (to kind an excellent cross dashing duo with Chandler Jones) or maybe extremely regarded Alabama defensive deal with Quinnen Williams. The hope could be that Kingsbury can coach up Rosen the way in which Sean McVay did the previous two years with Goff (who has made the Professional Bowl in every of the final two seasons after a tough rookie season).

That may remove the potential for a worst-case state of affairs during which Keim unloads Rosen for lots lower than the Playing cards invested in him, solely to see him change into a star elsewhere – and perhaps a greater quarterback than Murray in the long term.

Keim has mentioned in latest days that no remaining determination has been made on the highest decide, and I imagine him to a sure extent. I feel he is hoping for that implausible commerce provide from the likes of the Raiders, Giants, Broncos, Dolphins or Redskins. And the truth that Murray has visited a number of groups in latest weeks is an indication nobody within the Cardinals group has instructed him he is undoubtedly going to be their decide.

By now, Keim and his scouts have their draft board lined up. He has talked by means of the assorted choices with Bidwill and is aware of precisely what he’ll do if no commerce materializes.

I am glad I by no means had the primary decide within the draft throughout my GM years so I did not face the strain Keim is underneath this week. He is aware of his future as a GM is on the road with how he handles the highest total decide, and the way it performs out within the years to come back.

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