CARDINALS CORNER

Clayton Tune says he’s best QB in draft class, gives Cardinals extra option

May 1, 2023, 3:47 PM

Quarterback Clayton Tune #3 of the Houston Cougars passes the ball during the game against the Texa...

Quarterback Clayton Tune #3 of the Houston Cougars passes the ball during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 10, 2022 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

TEMPE — Arizona Cardinals 2023 fifth-rounder and quarterback Clayton Tune didn’t hold back during his first interaction with local reporters on Saturday.

“I think I’m the best quarterback in this class and God’s got a plan for me, so I wasn’t too stressed about it,” Tune said. “I didn’t have too many expectations, but I’m just happy to be a part of such a great organization and be able to live out my dream. I’m just happy to go in there to work and compete.”

And while it remains to be seen if he can live up to that statement, Tune — the ninth quarterback drafted this past weekend — at the very least gives the Cardinals another option with the unknown surrounding quarterback Kyler Murray and his return from a torn ACL.

Like it or not, we haven’t gotten a concreate timeline and likely won’t until Murray’s healthy. And given how late in the season he went down with the injury, a return by Week 1 seems out the cards.

That leaves Colt McCoy, David Blough and now Tune as Arizona’s likely starting options at the beginning of the year.

McCoy and Blough should have a clear head start having NFL games already under their belt, but as we’ve been told by new general manager Monti Ossenfort and first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon, competition is a huge part of the new regime.

“If you look at my body of work, the effect that I have on my team that I play on, I elevate everyone around me,” Tune said. “I’m a natural leader, people follow me and see the work that I’m putting in and the mindset that I have, and they want to follow suit.

“I have that no-flinch mentality when things get going tough. Those are some of the intangible’s things, and then being able to make every throw on the field, being able to make plays off schedule and be more mobile than people realize.”

Tune, whose great-great uncle Jim Lawrence was the Cardinals’ first-ever NFL Draft pick in 1936, heads to Arizona following five seasons at Houston.

This past year was his best as a Cougar, completing 67.3% of his throws for 4,074 yards and 40 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 13 games played.

The QB can tuck and run when it calls for it, too, rushing for 544 yards and five scores on 128 carries in 2022.

That ability to run the rock may be a big reason why the Cardinals were interested in Tune.

With both McCoy and Blough more on the stationary side of things, Tune gives new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing a more mobile signal caller to work with in an offense. Tune also has familiarity with Cardinals QBs coach Israel Woolfork after working with the assistant at the Senior Bowl.

In an offense that is going to be tailored around the moving Murray, bringing in Tune can give Petzing and Woolfork a better feel for what to expect when Murray does get that green light.

Plus, at the end of the day, adding another arm just stokes the fire inside the QBs room.

“We’re always going to look to add competition to the roster,” first-year general manager Monti Ossenfort said Saturday. “It doesn’t matter what position that’s at, we’re going to constantly look to add competition. Clayton was a highly productive player at the University of Houston. He’s got good size, he’s got good speed, he throws the ball well.

“It’s a crowded room but Kyler’s working back from his injury, and we’ll see how it goes. I think competition will bring out the best in everybody and we’ll just see where that ends up.”

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