Signs continue to point to Kyler Murray as the first pick

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Cardinals remain committed to keeping their intentions for the first overall pick quiet, possibly at the behest of the league office or possibly because they like being the center of attention, for a change. But the signs continue to point to the Cardinals taking quarterback Kyler Murray with that No. 1 overall selection.

The fact that current quarterback Josh Rosen genuinely seems to be in the dark regarding his status continues to be the most compelling evidence that Rosen will be supplanted by Murray. If Murray isn’t the pick, the damage being done to Rosen’s standing within the organization will be hard to undo. Other players will look at him differently, always wondering whether he’s the guy they should be unconditionally following or whether it’s just a matter of time before he’ll be benched or traded. And if players can’t fully embrace the player who is supposed to lead them, the players necessarily won’t have the leader they need.

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Here’s another signal that, for now, indicates that Murray will be the guy: He has agreed to go to Nashville for the draft. If he didn’t believe he’d be the first overall pick at a time when so many expect it to be him, would he walk into the embarrassment that necessarily would flow from sitting there in the green room while someone else becomes the first person to make the walk across the stage for a bear hug with Roger Goodell?

Murray will know before the draft whether he’s the pick, thanks to the relationship between agent Erik Burkhardt and the Cardinals. Burkhardt represents Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, and Burkhardt helped Kingsbury navigate a contractual minefield out of USC and into the job he now has. Kingsbury will know what the Cardinals are going to do, Kingsbury will tell Burkhardt, and Burkhardt will tell Murray.

So if Murray follows through on his non-binding agreement to attend the draft, he’s the guy. If he cancels (in the same way he canceled his trip to D.C.), he’s not. With so few sure things entering this year’s draft, that may be the only one.

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