The quarterback struggles the Cardinals have dealt with over the past couple of seasons have been worth it, according to Steve Keim.
The Cardinals general manager said it was difficult trading away Josh Rosen with the notion of having No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray replace him, but in the end he’s confident in his decision.
“You have to make the tough decisions and avoid the outside noise: ‘Why’d you give up on this guy? Why would you trade this guy?’” Keim told TheRinger.com. “It’s unprecedented. I took [Rosen] in the top 10. I just felt that [Murray] was a generational talent that I just couldn’t pass up.”
Keim knew that the choice to draft Murray would come with backlash and disbelief. Just one year earlier, the team had traded the 15th overall pick with third- and fifth-round selections to the Raiders to move up to No. 10 overall to draft Rosen.
The Rosen experiment was a disaster, with the team finishing 3-13 record in 2018 and Rosen throwing for only 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.
When Keim approached new coach Kliff Kingsbury about taking Murray No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Kingsbury said he was excited, but he didn’t want it to seem like he was favoring Murray, who he had lauded in the past.
However, Keim watched Murray’s highlights from his time at Oklahoma after seeing him at the NFL combine and couldn’t help but be impressed.
“Every game, it was the same thing,” Keim said. “He did something multiple times that you either said, ‘Wow!’ or [I] had seen very few times in my scouting career.”
According to Kingsbury, Murray belongs in the same tier of young quarterbacks as Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, both of whom he coached at Texas Tech.
Much is riding on Murray being the team’s saving grace this season — if he ends up being a dud like Rosen last year, Keim will be hearing a lot more outside noise about his decisions.