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The Cardinals' first pick in this year's NFL draft could throw the whole thing into chaos

If the Cards pass on QB Kyler Murray, there could be carnage in the first round.

All eyes will be on Kyler Murray this Thursday night.
All eyes will be on Kyler Murray this Thursday night.

THE NFL DRAFT is just days away, and perhaps the most interesting plot revolves around what the Arizona Cardinals do with the No. 1 overall pick.

To some, the debate is already over: the Cardinals will take Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who coach Kliff Kingsbury knows personally and has praised since getting the Cardinals job.

Others are far less certain, and should the Cardinals veer away from Murray, it could throw the rest of the draft for a loop.

According to NBC’s Peter King, there are “many” people within the Cardinals who would like to see them take the Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa. King believes the Cardinals will take Murray but said another option could be going with the best overall player, who many believe is Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

Furthermore, the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer, who does his mock draft by speaking with veteran team beat reporters, quoted Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, who believes the Cardinals will not go with a quarterback.

“The Cardinals like Josh Rosen, and I don’t see them taking a quarterback in the first round two years in a row,” Somers told Farmer. “They need help on the defensive line, and Williams would immediately provide that.”

If the Cardinals were to take Williams and Murray fell to the second pick, the San Francisco 49ers would have a difficult decision to make, and it could throw the draft into chaos.

Both King and Farmer have the 49ers taking Bosa with the second pick. But if Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy and is widely regarded best quarterback in the draft, is available, teams with a need for a quarterback could scramble to move up to get him. The 49ers need a pass rusher, but they could also be faced with the possibility of swapping high first-round picks, plus getting an extra pick or two back in the trade.

Teams like the Oakland Raiders (fourth pick), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (fifth), the New York Giants (sixth), the Denver Broncos (10th), the Miami Dolphins (13th), and the Washington Redskins (15th) are all in the market for a quarterback. If Murray is available, perhaps they would weigh the price of moving up to get the best guy instead of whoever is available after Murray.

NFL: MAR 01 Scouting Combine Kyler Murray will be in high demand if the Cardinals pass him up with the first overall pick. Source: Zach Bolinger

The Raiders are rumoured to like Murray. Any of the other teams that want a quarterback would most likely have to move up to the second or third pick to jump the Raiders. That is, unless the Raiders, with four picks in the top 35 of the draft, go all in to get Murray. King said he didn’t think they wanted to pay the price to move up.

There could be another quarterback scramble if the Cardinals do the expected and draft Murray.

Taking Murray would leave Josh Rosen, Arizona’s second-year quarterback, in an awkward spot. Rosen has already called the speculation about the Cardinals taking Murray “annoying.” He most likely would not want to be a backup to Murray.

It’s unclear what the price for Rosen would be if the Cardinals decided to move on from him. King suggested some teams could offer a third-round pick for him. But even after Rosen’s rough rookie season, it’s unclear whether the Cardinals would accept such a trade for last year’s 10th overall pick. Would any of the quarterback-needy teams be willing to pay more to acquire the 22-year-old Rosen?

The draft always comes down to a race for quarterbacks. This year, with one quarterback clear above the others and several teams in need at the position, Thursday could be set up for pure chaos.

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