NASHVILLE — The intrigue the Arizona Cardinals tried to generate around their selection of Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray first overall in Thursday evening’s first round of the NFL draft faded as suddenly as the storm that had soaked the crowd gathered in front of the stage erected on the West bank of the Cumberland River.
When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the much-anticipated pick, Murray became the first player ever selected in the first round in football and baseball.
Murray, son of Texas A&M quarterback and former minor-league baseball player Kevin Murray, wore a three-piece pink-pinstriped suit with maroon accents over a white shirt. He told reporters it was modeled after one Leonardo DiCaprio wore in the latest cinematic version of The Great Gatsby, which Murray said is his favorite movie. (That story doesn’t end particularly well, if memory serves.)
Kliff Kingsbury, the collegiate offensive innovator the Cardinals hired as their head coach this offseason, gets the dual-threat quarterback he once recruited to Texas A&M. The Oakland A’s presumably get back the $1.29 million Murray is required to give them to get out of the contract he signed after they made him their first-round pick, ninth overall, less than a year ago.
Murray told reporters that “finally being able to play for Coach Kingsbury is something we’ve been talking about a long time.” In fact, they met when Murray was a high school sophomore and Kingsbury was A&M’s offensive coordinator. Kingsbury was the Texas Tech head coach by the time Murray graduated, but Murray stayed with A&M, however briefly, before transferring to Oklahoma.
“This is where I wanted to be,” said Murray, whose dedication to football has been questioned; he has just one season as a collegiate starter behind him.
The Cards now presumably will trade Josh Rosen, their first-round quarterback from 2018, but the fact that they hadn’t done that as the first round ground toward its conclusion made it seem unlikely they would get much of a haul.
Quarterback-needy teams, such as the Giants, Dolphins and Redskins, saw the list of variables attached to their decisions decrease just a little. The teams eager to dig into this draft class’ rich trove of defensive talent were glad to see Arizona take a quarterback, which meant No. 2 San Francisco could choose between a pair of difference-making pass rushers, Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Ohio State’s Nick Bosa. The 49ers took Bosa, the Jets then took Williams.
Then the Giants went for Eli Manning’s successor with the sixth pick, taking Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, which ultimately left Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins for the Redskins at 15. There had been a lot of talk about Washington trying to trade up for a QB, presumably Haskins, but it turned out that wasn’t necessary.
There was one trade early on, the Steelers, who have always liked their linebackers, sending their 20th overall first-round pick, their second (52nd overall) and a 2020 third-rounder to Denver for the 10th overall pick, which they used on Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. Bush seems to be the successor to Ryan Shazier.
As the round developed, much of the top defensive talent came off the board, and more and more, it seemed the Eagles might be pushed toward offense. Ultimately they moved up from 25th overall to 22nd, taking Washington State offensive tackle Andre Dillard, whom many analysts had considered a top-15 pick. There even was talk Dillard might go in the top 10.
The Eagles gave up a fourth-rounder (127th overall) and a sixth (197th overall) to move ahead of the Texans, who reportedly wanted Dillard but took Alabama State’s Tytus Howard, also an offensive tackle.
When the Eagles made their pick, no wide receivers or running backs had been selected. But the Ravens used the Eagles’ 25th overall slot to take Oklahoma wideout Marquise Brown, the player most often targeted at 25, to the Eagles, in the run-up to the draft.
No. 1, Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
No. 2, San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
No. 3, New York Jets: Quinnen Williams, DE, Alabama
No. 4, Oakland Raiders: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
No. 5, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Devin White, LB, LSU
No. 6, New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
No. 7, Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Allen, LB, Kentucky
No. 8, Detroit Lions: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
No. 9, Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
No. 10, Pittsburgh Steelers: Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
No. 11, Cincinnati Bengals: Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
No. 12, Green Bay Packers: Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan
No. 13, Miami Dolphins: Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
No. 14, Atlanta Falcons: Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College
No. 15, Washington: Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
No. 16, Carolina Panthers: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
No. 17, New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
No. 18, Minnesota Vikings: Garrett Bradbury, C, NC State
No. 19, Tennessee Titans: Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
No. 20, Denver Broncos: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
No. 21, Green Bay Packers: Darnell Savage Jr., S, Maryland
No. 22, Philadelphia Eagles: Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
No. 23, Houston Texans: Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
No. 24, Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
No. 25, Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
No. 26, Washington: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
No. 27, Oakland Raiders: Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi State
No. 28, Los Angeles Chargers: Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
No. 29, Seattle Seahawks: L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
No. 30, New York Giants: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
No. 31, Atlanta Falcons: Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington