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Keim: Cardinals got ‘5th-best player’ when drafting Byron Murphy

The latest episode of “Cardinals Flight Plan” had Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim call second-round pick Byron Murphy the team’s “fifth-best player” in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Keim and team president Michael Bidwill said they were “sticking with the plan” when day two of the 2019 NFL Draft got underway. That, of course, was possible because Arizona had the first selection of day two, meaning they could have their pick of who was available and spend overnight contemplating the choice.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Murphy the Cardinals knew they wanted him after having dinner in the pre-draft process and said Murphy was the best corner in the draft “hands down.”

“That’s huge,” Keim said. “We got our fifth-best player.”

The episode opened with Keim in the draft room and having a conversation with Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey that appeared to be more about pleasantries than any trade negotiations.

Then came the call to No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray and his journey all the way to being in Arizona for the first time as Cardinal. That included getting his gear picked out and his introductory press conference.

After Murphy’s selection, the attention turned to the team dealing quarterback Josh Rosen.

Keim and Kingsbury were shown discussing what the pick would be if they were up at No. 62, the second rounder they’d go on to acquire from the Miami Dolphins for Rosen, along with a 2020 fifth-round pick.

“That’d be unbelievable,” Kingsbury said when Keim initially proposed UMass wideout Andy Isabella.

From there, Keim and Bidwill discussed the strategy and forecast of how the draft could play out.

Keim said the team could potentially draft both Isabella and wideout Hakeem Butler, who the Cardinals did indeed select in the fourth round.

“That kid from Boston College is unbelievable,” Keim said of defensive end Zach Allen.

The time came for the decision of if they’d pull the trigger on the trade with Miami.

“I love Isabella so,” Kingsbury said. “He makes us better right away.”

Bidwill, Keim and Kingsbury had a short three-man conference while Keim was on the phone before Keim told the Dolphins the Cardinals would accept the offer.

The call to Isabella was put in and Kingsbury was clearly ecstatic for the arrival of the 5-foot-9 wide receiver.

The pick for Allen in the third round came next. Keim and Bidwill said he was a top 25 player on their board.

“Trust your board,” Bidwill and Keim said.

On Keim’s board, that was now three top 25 players selected. Keim said the last time something like that happened was in the 2004 NFL Draft when the Cardinals got Larry Fitzgerald third, Karlos Dansby with the 33rd pick and Darnell Dockett at No. 65.

The episode wrapped with the Cardinals rounding out their draft class in the later rounds.

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