OK, everybody, repeat after me: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

Let’s take a deep breath and do it again: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

And once more, for the people in the back: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

Of course, we can repeat something all we want, but that doesn’t make it true. So, let’s explore this a bit to make certain. There’s a chance Josh Rosen didn’t get a fair opportunity and that Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim has harmed the franchise for years to come by selecting quarterbacks in back-to-back drafts.

We can start our evaluation with what Cardinals rookie defensive end Zach Allen had to say Wednesday about how tough it will be for opposing defenses to prepare for his new teammate.

“Nearly impossible,” he said. “As just a fan of football, you watch some of his games, what he can do, running and throwing the ball, throwing the ball off of one foot 60 yards, I mean, it’s just crazy what he can do.”

“Good luck,” for anybody trying to stop him.

That goes way, way beyond the typical praise.

But, what’s a rookie know, right?

Let’s think about this another way.

Check the numbers

The Cardinals brought in Kliff Kingsbury to run a unique offensive system. If that’s the plan then it’s incumbent upon the front office to give Kingsbury the players he needs to run his system — and in this case that starts with the quarterback.

The air raid, even a modified version, needs a mobile, quick-triggered decision maker, who can read opponents and react quickly.

Josh Rosen showed mobility last season, but he’s known as a pocket passer. He’s just not known as a very good one.

In all fairness, last season’s poor play wasn’t entirely his fault. But he was the guy on the field, so he shares in the responsibility.

Cardinals rookies on playing for Arizona
Thomas Hawthorne, The Republic | azcentral.com

Rosen was 3-10 as a starter. Only four other quarterbacks had more than his 14 intercepted passes and no one had more interceptions returned for touchdowns (4). He was second to last in completion percentage (55.2), last in last in quarterback rating (66.7) and last in yards per pass attempt (5.8).

So, he was checking down to safe throws and still wasn’t completing many passes.  

He was terrible. Great guy, maybe. But a terrible quarterback.

There’s every likelihood that Rosen is better than what he showed. The play calling under Mike McCoy was neither creative nor effective, and the offensive line had so many injures that guys had to introduce themselves to one another in the huddle.

Let’s take a look at Rosen’s college stats to get a better sense of it.

He had 17 wins in three seasons. Injuries limited him to six games his sophomore year. He missed three games his junior year.

In the 2018 draft, three quarterbacks were taken ahead of him.

Rosen threw 59 touchdowns, and he ran for six more. He also had 26 passes intercepted.

His three-year career at UCLA doesn’t compare well to Murray’s Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma.

Murray, last season, started all 14 games for the Sooners and won 12 of them. He threw 42 touchdowns and ran for 12 more. He only had seven passes intercepted.

Dead money? Dead issue

Is it possible that everyone feels so bad for Rosen that they’ve overlooked the reality that his best-case scenario might be that of a game-manager?

There’s an argument that it’s financially irresponsible to have traded Rosen, since his contract will represent about $8 million in dead money.

But if that’s a concern, then don’t hire Kingsbury. And if you hire Kingsbury, then it’s not a concern.

Greg Moore and Bob McManaman explain how every rookie introduced Thursday had something to say about quarterback Kyler Murray.
Thomas Hawthorne, The Republic | azcentral.com

Dead money is bad. Refusing to acknowledge a mistake and move on from it is worse. Bypassing a potentially generational talent is unforgivable.

Rosen’s $8 million means the Cardinals can’t go get two veteran free-agent starters. If two rookies exceed expectations, then it averages out.  

To bottom line it, Keim took a risk when he traded up to get Rosen, and he cut his losses when he drafted Murray.

He didn’t have to trade Rosen. He chose to.

It could be that he did like the rest of us, by taking a deep breath, exhaling slowly and repeating what we can be reasonably certain is true: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

Again, for the penny pinchers: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

And one last time for those who won’t believe it until they see proof: Kyler Murray was the right pick.

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