The Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs for the third-straight season in 2018 after finishing with a league-worst 3-13 record.
The Cardinals fired head coach Steve Wilks after just one season and replaced him with former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who most recently went 5-7 with the Red Raiders in 2018. Kingsbury is expected to bring a modern spread offense to Arizona.
In last year's draft, the Cardinals took UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round and Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk in the second round.
How will they use their picks in this year's NFL draft? We're breaking down every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Cardinals hold in the 2019 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, pick 1 (No. 1 overall):
Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Andy Benoit's grade: B
This puts a lot of egg on GM Steve Keim’s face, as last year’s costly first-round pick, Josh Rosen (whom, it should be noted, would be rated higher than Murray on some teams’ boards) will likely be dealt for pennies on the dollar. And there was already egg on Keim’s face to begin with, as he fired last year’s new head coach, Steve Wilks, after just one season, replacing him with the offensive-minded ex-Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury. But give Keim credit for facing that music and moving forward, and for understanding that he would diminish the Kingsbury hire by not drafting Murray, whom Kingsbury believes is a perfect fit for his new-age offense.
Murray’s ceiling is that of a Russell Wilson Plus. Murray is quicker and faster than Wilson, plus Murray has the livelier arm. Also, like Wilson, Murray is a tremendous touch thrower and out-of-pocket player. The question is whether, at 5’10”, Murray can consistently play from within the pocket, which is mandatory for NFL success, no matter how electric a QB might be at scrambling. Like any mobile QB, Murray must fight the urge to flee the pocket too quickly or too often. His legs must be used as a resource, not a crutch.
Round 2, pick 1 (No. 33 overall): Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
For years the Cardinals have tried to make do with a shoddy No. 2 corner—an unfortunate gamble considering that their No. 1 corner, Patrick Peterson, is amongst the handful of cover artists whom offenses specifically try to avoid. At Washington, Murphy was an off-coverage defender, preferring to keep eyes on the backfield and on his receiver. That approach translates well to a zone scheme, but with Patrick Peterson headlining Arizona’s secondary, Murphy will be asked to play a lot of man coverage.
Round 2, pick 30 (No. 62 overall): Andy Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
We don’t know exactly what Kliff Kingsbury’s system will entail in the NFL, but presumably it will feature quick-strike passes. In that case, run-after-catch becomes critical, and shifty players who can create their own space are worth their weight in gold. This is a great value…the only downside is it essentially came at the cost of the QB the team traded up to No. 10 for last year. We’ll do the Cards a favor and grade this pick in a vacuum, not factoring in the Josh Rosen sacrifice.
Round 3, pick 1 (No. 65 overall): Zach Allen, DE, Boston College
Andy Benoit's grade: C
Allen is a so-so athlete who has good initial get-off and presses hard through the play, but the Cardinals have a similar guy in ex-Falcon Brooks Reed.
Round 4, pick 1 (No. 103 overall): Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Round 5, pick 1 (No. 139 overall): Deointe Thompson, S, Alabama
Round 6, pick 1 (No. 174 overall): KeeSean Johnson, WR, Fresno State
Round 6, pick 6 (No. 179 overall): Lamont Gaillard, C, Georgia
Round 7, pick 34 (No. 248 overall): Joshua Miles, OT, Morgan State
Round 7, pick 35 (No. 249 overall): Michael Dogbe, DE, Temple
Round 7, pick 40 (No. 254 overall): Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
See every NFL team's 2019 picks by clicking the links below.
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