Cardinals pick Kyler Murray No. 1 in NFL draft

The Arizona Cardinals selected Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday’s NFL draft.

The selection marks both a stunning one-year rise by Murray and a full change of direction for the Cardinals, who 12 months ago spent a first-round pick on a different quarterback, Josh Rosen.

Now Murray is the future, giving new head coach Kliff Kingsbury the dual-threat athlete who excelled in his offense when he was in charge at Texas Tech. Kingsbury’s most famous pupil was reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes.

The Cardinals hired Kingsbury to revive the moribund franchise because of the belief his wide-open offense will succeed in the modern, pass-happy NFL.

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NFL prospects, fans arrive at the 2019 NFL draft
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NFL prospects, fans arrive at the 2019 NFL draft
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Louisiana State linebacker Devin White walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Georgia defensive back DeAndre Baker walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Fans watch the main stage ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Minnesota Vikings fan Syd Davy cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
A Indianapolis Colts fan cheers ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Georgia defensive back DeAndre Baker walks the red carpet ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, right participates in the national anthem with football players ahead of the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Rosen, who arrived with much promise as the No. 10 pick of the 2018 draft out of UCLA, is now either trade bait or in for a fight for relevance. He is a more traditional pro-style quarterback. His play as a rookie season was disjointed, completing just 55.2 percent of his passes and throwing more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11), although he played behind a woeful offensive line and had few weapons to work with.

A year ago Murray was still relatively unknown. He’d spent the 2017 season at Oklahoma backing up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, who would also go No. 1 overall to Cleveland.

Since then, Murray won his own Heisman, led the Sooners to the College Football Playoffs and showed an explosive enough game that he backed out on a contract with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics and entered the NFL draft.

Murray completed 69 percent of his passes at OU and threw for 42 touchdowns against just seven picks. He also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Despite being 5-foot-10, Murray joined Mayfield at the top of the draft, the first time two players from the same school went No. 1 overall in half a century – USC’s Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson went first overall in 1968 and 1969 respectively.

The Cardinals were also linked with top defensive end Quinnen Williams of Alabama and Joey Bosa of Ohio State. Despite defensive needs, they decided to give their new offensive-minded coach the kind of quarterback he covets.

If Murray turns out anything like Mahomes, then this selection will go down as a major day in Arizona history.

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