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Why an NFL mock draft has the Cardinals picking QB Kyler Murray

(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter, File)

Tracking a long list of reputable NFL mock drafts over the past few months hasn’t led to much debate.

Nick Bosa. Nick Bosa. More Nick Bosa.

The Ohio State pass-rusher is whom the Arizona Cardinals are expected to select if they keep the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. While other options rarely cropped up, nobody had yet to choose Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray as the first player off the board.

Mocks were all about the Cardinals taking Bosa first overall with the occasional Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen in there. Then along came Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling, who on Tuesday started off a three-round mock draft with Arizona selecting Murray.

“I knew that was going to get quite the reaction from people all over the place,” Easterling told Bickley & Marotta Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Obviously the strongest reaction to that is, ‘There’s no way that’s going to happen. Why would you even do that? Are you predicting this?’

“That’s not my game, at least not this early in the process. Mock drafts in February should have no intention of predicting what’s going to happen on draft day.”

Murray, of course, has been linked to the Cardinals and head coach Kliff Kingsbury because of scheme fit and Kingsbury’s comment from October, when the then-Texas Tech coach said he would draft Murray first overall.

Easterling wanted to take a look at the draft from the a different perspective. More than guessing where Murray went, it was about Bosa falling to the second pick, where the San Francisco 49ers would likely scoop him up. Easterling wanted to look at the domino effect of it all.

As for the Cardinals, this scenario of course presents problems. Wrote Easterling:

Is it crazy to think that Murray made his firm commitment to football over baseball because he knows something we don’t? Maybe Kliff Kingsbury wants to hand-pick his franchise quarterback, one with a rare skill set who would fit perfectly with his offense? Taking Murray at No. 1 and putting Josh Rosen on the trade block would instantly throw this draft into chaos.”

Easterling explained why he decided to throw a mock into a frenzy.

“You’re trying to start conversations,” he told Bickley & Marotta. “You’re trying to present scenarios to people and say, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if this happened? What would the rest of the draft look like if Kyler Murray went number one overall?

“Is it crazy? Absolutely. Do crazy things happen in the draft every year? Absolutely they do.”

Easterling, however, has his head in reality. He doesn’t see a Murray-to-the-Cardinals happening.

He sees Ohio State signal-caller Dwayne Haskins headlining the 2019 quarterback class. On his big board, Easterling had Haskins as the 10th-best prospect at any position with Murray not even appearing until pick No. 48.

And if that doesn’t tell you the reality about why the Cardinals probably would not trade Rosen and pick Murray first overall, know this: Easterling said that Rosen, had he stayed in school last year, would be the obvious top draft selection and top quarterback prospect in the 2019 draft if Arizona held the first pick.

Bickley & Marotta

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