Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley: Kyler does ‘things you’ve never seen before’
Speculation and concerns regarding the Arizona Cardinals decision at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft were put to rest when the team selected former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.
Murray’s coach at Oklahoma, Lincoln Riley joined the Doug & Wolf show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station to reassure Cardinals’ fans that the front office made the right call.
“When you go to watch football games on a Sunday, you’re going to see some things you’ve never seen before,” Riley said.
While his athletic appeal and versatility as a dual-threat quarterback helped launch a successful Heisman Trophy bid during his time under Riley, the coach thinks there is a different appeal that has drawn top NFL brass to Murray.
“You’re getting a competitor and a winner first, despite all the flashy things you see with him athletically,” Riley said. “You look at the kid’s record, he’s started 57 or 58 games in his career. He’s lost two of them.”
Establishing a winning culture is certainly what the Cardinals front office duo of president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim hope to resurrect a mere four seasons removed from an appearance in the NFC Championship game.
Over the last three seasons including that loss, the Cardinals are 18-30-1.
Murray does not come without flaws and criticism either, however. His passive demeanor during the pre-draft interview process and lack of emotion compared to his predecessor at Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield, have brought his leadership abilities into question.
“Behind the scenes with the football team, he knows when it’s time to be that fiery leader or to be that guy to pull a guy off to the side or to get on other players for not maintaining the same standard,” Riley said.
“He leads in a different way, certainly, than Baker did but I would say just as much effective.”