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Report: Keim told Quinnen Williams he might be drafted by Cardinals

Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

With all the smokescreens going around during NFL Draft season, it’s impossible to know what’s important and what’s not.

But the Arizona Cardinals reportedly telling Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams they might take him with the No. 1 pick doesn’t appear to be the latter.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Cardinals general manager Steve Keim “reached out” to Williams to tell him “he’s still a possibility to go first overall,” in Rapoport’s words.

Rapoport added that he doesn’t know if Arizona has made a decision, and if so, the team is “keeping it quiet.”

If the Cardinals do go with Williams, it would address a need on the defensive line.

Last season, Williams had 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 8.0 sacks as he helped Alabama get to the championship game.

At the NFL Draft Combine, he ran a 4.83-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 30.5-inch vertical jump.

“Dominant defender,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said of Williams during the pre-draft process. “I know his production is moreso this year, but an interior player that is that dominating at that size has been fun to watch.”

Taking Williams would mean passing on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, who has been widely regarded as the likely No. 1 pick and a perfect option for head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense.

But Williams’ dominance in college and potential as a pro could make him too impressive of an athlete to pass up.

There’s also no ruling out this is a smokescreen to confuse opponents and potential trade suitors further. Additionally, it may simply be Keim not risking word getting out by telling a potential top prospect he’s out of the equation.

The 2019 NFL Draft will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday. The Cardinals are on the clock first.

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