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Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury on QB talk: ‘It comes with the territory’

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury joins The Doug & Wolf Show for an interview on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Feb. 15, 2019. (Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)

There’s been quite a bit of talk on what exactly new head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals are going to do with the No. 1 pick.

Do they pull the trigger on a Kyler Murray, or even Dwayne Haskins, or stick with the signal caller already on the roster in Josh Rosen?

For those thinking there may be some clarity as to whom the Arizona Cardinals are going to take with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, think again.

“I think it comes with the territory,” Kingsbury told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station when asked if the noise surrounding the top pick bothered him. “When somebody has the No. 1 pick it comes with a lot of intrigue and a lot of hype and both those guys are tremendous players. It’s going to be fun going through the process for the first time.

“I think anytime you have the first pick, you’re going to look at all the top guys. You’re going to evaluate everyone and see who can help your franchise, your organization the most right now so we’ll evaluate them all and go from there.”

Keywords: Evaluate everyone.

Since Kingsbury inked his contract with the team, the speculation surrounding the quarterback position on the team has been rampant.

Back in October, before the head coach signed on with Arizona, Kingsbury was on record saying he would take Murray with the first overall pick if he could.

Now in the NFL and the exact opportunity — not to mention they have the same agent — the quote has almost gone full-circle.

Almost.

While the talk will surely continue until the first name is called on draft night, the first-year HC isn’t worried about Rosen’s mentality, or his ability to run the offense.

“Josh is a strong-minded young man, very competitive and very talented and he understands, just like everybody else in this league, the day you get drafted everybody’s trying to find the next guy to replace you,” Kingsbury said. “And that’s just the nature of the business. It comes with the territory.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Josh, watching him play at UCLA, the talent he had. … I thought he showed a lot of mental toughness going through a bunch of different coordinators and continues to get up and continues to fight and that goes a long way. Every time I’ve turned on the tape there’s something you watch that you like and can build with and that’s exciting for me.”

As head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Kingsbury had a number of starting quarterbacks, most notably Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb. While Mahomes and Mayfield are known for their added running abilities and elusiveness, Webb wasn’t the most dangerous on the ground under Kingsbury. Yet he still had some success at Texas Tech before transferring to California.

“It doesn’t matter, I think you can build it around,” Kingsbury said when asked what his prototypical QB is for the Air Raid offense. “You want the base skillset and you want guys, obviously, to be smart, talented, competitive, but we try too adapt it to their best skillset and make sure they’re successful and comfortable in it so we’ve done it with a variety of styles of play and different types of mindsets.

“You want a guy who can escape, extend plays, move in the pocket but it doesn’t have to be a guy that runs a 4.2,” Kingsbury added. “You want a guy who can get you out of a bad play if it’s not there and move around. Tom Brady’s been doing that a long time and he’s not the fastest guy.”

The No. 1 overall pick won’t be selected until April 25, and although the rumor mill will continue to spin on what the Cardinals will do with their quarterback situation, don’t expect Arizona’s new HC to show his hand anytime soon.

“It wouldn’t be any fun if we [declare Rosen the starter right now], let those guys [making the mock drafts] have a lot of speculation and get some click bait,” Kingsbury said. “We’ll just keep having fun with it.”

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