Keim: ‘A number of players’ on film worthy of Cardinals’ top pick
It’s too early for general manager Steve Keim to admit he’s overly-enamored by a single player with his Arizona Cardinals expected to lead off the 2019 NFL Draft.
He’s yet to meet any of the draft prospects face-to-face, and the NFL Scouting Combine hasn’t happened.
All Keim has is film.
“I truly don’t know who we’re going to take,” the GM told Doug & Wolf in his Wednesday visit to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station during Newsmakers Week. “It’s way too early to even consider who’s going to be the number one pick.
“I think that there’s a number of players that I’ve looked at on film already that are extremely talented that I think could be potential number one picks. Obviously when you’re picking at one, usually that player is a physical freak. I’m excited to see a number of those guys test.”
Keim hears the TV soundbites and talking heads when it comes to his Cardinals. This week, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray’s commitment to an NFL future threw his name into the ring as a potential top draft choice for Arizona and head coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose Air Raid offensive concepts could fit the Heisman winner well.
Keim wouldn’t go as far as writing Murray off his list just because the Cardinals already have a quarterback in Josh Rosen — but he’s not writing anyone off at this point.
“When I go through the evaluation process heading into the draft, I will look at every player like we have nobody on our roster,” Keim said. “I’ll evaluate everybody the same.”
It’ll come down to whether Murray, or anyone else, is the best prospect who can make the biggest impact.
Nonetheless, Keim welcomes the Murray conversation. It’s a positive for the NFL and the Cardinals, even if it might not depict his front office’s thought processes.
“It’s sort of like The Bachelor or the Real Housewives of Orange County. This is real life stuff,” the GM said.
“It’s exciting. So does that mean that maybe I’m like Colton, The Bachelor? Am I that beefcake kind of guy?”
The real question is whether the Cardinals think Nick Bosa is that beefcake kind of guy. The top of most NFL mock draft boards boast the Ohio State pass-rusher and a handful of other defensive linemen, but the team’s biggest needs are on offense.
The Cardinals need more skill position playmakers and, more importantly, more offensive line talent.
“You can block all day, but if you can’t create separation, it won’t matter. And then vice versa,” Keim said. “I guess what comes first, the chicken or the egg? I think you have to protect first, though.”
Whether those issues are addressed with the No. 1 pick, later in the draft or in free agency will depend on Arizona’s yet-to-be-created big board and how the draft itself plays out around the Cardinals’ picks.
But what will they do with their top pick? Could they consider trading it?
“Either that or stay put,” Keim said.
Keim’s impression of Kingsbury since hiring him as head coach: “To start right now, work ethic. I always prided myself on being at the office early and I generally get in there between 4:20 and 4:45 (a.m.) and Kliff has beat me every morning. And when I go home at night, Kliff is still in there.
“Every time I walk down to his office, it’s a complete mess. And when I say that, I say it with respect because there are papers everywhere and diagrams of plays and he’s watching film — sort of like the Nutty Professor putting a plan together, and it’s exciting to see.”