Murray taken 1st in NFL draft, followed by Bosa and Williams
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Defying NFL custom and at least temporarily creating a quarterback quandary, the Arizona Cardinals led off the NFL draft Thursday night by selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner.
For the second time in a year, Arizona went QB, having moved up from 15th overall to 10th in 2018 to grab Josh Rosen. NFL teams simply don’t do that, but with a new coach in college-trained Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals made the bold move. At least until they likely move Rosen elsewhere in a trade.
“I feel we can be very dangerous,” Murray said. “He’s one of the best in the world at calling plays. I can’t wait to get up there with him. It’s been a long time coming and I hope he feels the same.”
Resplendent in a pink suit — nothing close to the Cardinals red he will be wearing in Arizona — Murray hugged several of his fellow draft prospects before doing the same with Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Murray, a first-round baseball pick by the Oakland A’s, becomes the 22nd Heisman Trophy winner to go first overall. He also is the second straight Sooners quarterback to pull it off: Baker Mayfield went to Cleveland in 2018.
“BACK TO BACK!!!!! CONGRATS K1!!!! Well deserved my brotha!!!” Mayfield tweeted.
As for bypassing baseball, Murray has no qualms about the decision.
“I love playing multiple sports. I grew up playing multiple sports,” he said. “I just think there’s no reason to limit yourself to one sport. I love to compete, so it wasn’t a big deal for me.”
After Murray, defense became the order of the night. Of the first dozen picks, eight were for that side of the ball, starting with Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa, who went to San Francisco as expected. The 49ers have used a first-round selection on four defensive linemen in the past five drafts.
Bosa is considered the top pass rusher in this group. His older brother, Joey, plays for the Chargers and was the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Their father also played in the NFL.
“Good genes, man,” Bosa said with a laugh. ”″It’s a new journey. I’m so excited to finally be back on a team. I can’t wait to get to work. This is all the work I’ve put in since I was 7 years old and it’s finally here.”
Bosa is the highest Ohio State draft pick since offensive tackle Orlando Pace went No. 1 to St. Louis in 1997. He missed all but three games last season with a core muscle injury, but already had exhibited the kind of playmaking that lifts players to loft status. Such as the second pick in the draft.
The Jets, widely speculated to trade the third pick, used it on Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, considered by some scouts the best player in this draft. Not even a starter before 2018, Williams won the Outland Trophy last season and is Alabama’s highest-drafted defensive player since linebacker Cornelius Bennett went No. 2 overall in 1987.
“It’s just amazing. I’m ready to work now,” Williams said. “I trained with (Jets veteran DL) Leonard Williams, I know Leonard Williams a lot, and to get in there with him, someone I already had a connection with and can learn from, we’re going to get work done.”
More defense with Clemson end Clelin Ferrell going to Oakland and LSU linebacker Devin White to Tampa Bay, both addressing huge needs.
Then came what some considered a surprise when the Giants, looking for Eli Manning’s eventual successor, took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, the Senior Bowl MVP. Jones generally was not considered a first-round prospect when the college season ended.
But he’s been tutored at Duke by David Cutcliffe, who also coached Peyton and Eli Manning in college.
Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen followed to Jacksonville, then it was Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson to Detroit and Houston DT Ed Oliver to Buffalo.
Finally, in the 10th spot, a trade: Pittsburgh sending the 20th spot, the 53rd selection and a third-rounder next year to Denver. The Steelers, with Hall of Famer Joe Greene making the announcement, selected Michigan linebacker Devin Bush — a player apparently coveted by AFC North rival Cincinnati at No. 11.
The Bengals grabbed Alabama tackle Jonah Williams instead.
Perhaps the most patient display of the first half of the opening round came from Washington, a franchise not necessarily known for that trait. They sat at 15 and got the quarterback, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, that many believed the Redskins will need to trade up for.