NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The dream has come true for Kyler Murray.
The dream of making it to the NFL. The dream of being the first overall pick. And, perhaps most importantly, the dream of playing for the coach who has believed in him for so long.
Murray was recruited to Texas Tech as a teenager by Kliff Kingsbury, and now the two will get to work together at the highest level of the sport. It was Kingsbury who had suggested last October, before a game against Murray’s Oklahoma Sooners, that he “would take him with the first pick of the draft if I could.”
Kingsbury did just that because of a unique set of circumstances that brought him to the Cardinals not long after he was fired by Texas Tech. Though Kingsbury said through much of the pre-draft process that he was committed to Josh Rosen, Arizona’s first-round pick in 2018, it’s now clear that Murray is the Cardinals’ future.
“To play for Coach Kingsbury is something that we’ve been talking about for a long time,” Murray said. “It’s a quarterback-friendly offense, and he knows what I’m capable of. It’s nice to know that he’s behind you and is fully supportive of who you are. Knowing he’ll let me be me is probably the biggest thing.”
Murray became the second consecutive Oklahoma quarterback taken first overall, following Baker Mayfield’s selection last year by the Browns.
“It’s a surreal feeling knowing you’ve worked so hard to get to this moment,” he said. “There’s a lot more work to be done.”
Murray said he wouldn’t allow himself to believe that he was the No. 1 pick until he received the call from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. “I’m a pretty calm guy, but my heart was beating fast, just reminiscing on all the moment since I was a kid playing in the backyard,” he said. “This is where I wanted to be. I’m glad to be a Cardinal.”
Murray said he remains committed to playing football despite having been drafted in the first round by the Oakland A’s earlier this year.
Murray’s selection preceded a much-anticipated run on defensive players, as eight of the next 11 players play on the other side of the ball. The 49ers, linked for weeks to highly regarded Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa, selected the younger brother of Chargers Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa and the son of former Dolphins first-round linebacker John Bosa.
Nick Bosa suffered a core-muscle injury in the third game last season and sat out the remainder of the year, choosing to get fully healthy in advance of the draft.
After the Jets took Quinnen Williams, the Raiders surprisingly took Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4. LSU linebacker Devin White went fifth overall to the Bucs.
After Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was selected sixth overall by the Giants, the Jaguars, who were in the market for an offensive tackle, instead took Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen once he fell to them.
The Bills reportedly had been in discussions with the Jets to move up to No. 3 to take Williams, but they got the next-best thing by standing pat at No. 9: Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, a cat-quick defender who is big enough to play inside but fast enough to drop back into pass coverage if necessary.
The Steelers traded up with the Broncos at No. 10 to get Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. The team has needed a big-time linebacker since losing Ryan Shazier in 2017 to an injury that left him temporarily paralyzed. After the Bengals took Alabama tackle Jonah Williams with the 11th pick, the Packers resumed the run on defensive players by taking Michigan pass rusher Rashan Gary. The Redskins took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick.