As the 2019 NFL Draft nears, the vast majority of the time and energy spent on analysis and speculation has been dedicated to the decision awaiting the Cardinals at the top of the draft: Trade Josh Rosen and start anew with Kyler Murray, take Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams to bolster the team around Rosen, or trade out of the top spot entirely?
Nobody -- not even the Cardinals themselves -- knows for certain which route they'll take.
On Tuesday, nine days until the draft, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim admitted that they still haven't decided what they'll do with the top overall pick.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) April 16, 2019
"We are not done with this process. We have not made a decision on the number one overall pick."
Reporter: "Is there a reason you haven't made up your mind on the number one pick?"— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) April 16, 2019
Steve Keim: "Because we have time."
Keim on pre-draft misinformation: "The fact that I don't know what we're doing but everyone else does is concerning."— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 16, 2019
Before the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury, it certainly seemed like they'd make either Bosa or Williams the top pick in the draft. They traded up to No. 10 to take Rosen just a year ago. Even though Rosen struggled mightily during his rookie season, he struggled in a terrible offensive system that even managed to render David Johnson ineffective. Giving up on Rosen after only one season didn't appear to be within the realm of possibility.
And then old clip of Kingsbury saying he would take Murray No. 1 overall emerged, and . Ever since, the Cardinals have been tied to Murray asan
While the Cardinals have not explicitly denied the reports of their interest in Murray, they've also kept their options open by , and Williams, and by continuing to praise Rosen, which is smart. The Cardinals can like Rosen and also like Murray more than Rosen. Both things can be true, and it certainly sounds like their interest in Murray is more about Murray and less about Rosen.
“Physical toughness, mental toughness, Josh Rosen has it all.” - Cardinals GM Steve Keim.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) April 16, 2019
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury on how quarterback Josh Rosen has handles all the chatter surrounding him: “He’s been phenomenal.”— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) April 16, 2019
And there's nothing wrong with the Cardinals still being undecided this late in the process. They might not decide to trade Rosen until they get an offer that they feel is fair. A quarterback-needy team might not present the Cardinals with their best offer until the draft draws nearer. They might decide to draft Bosa until the Raiders (or another quarterback-needy team) calls them the night of the draft with an enticing offer for the top-overall pick, which would allow them to acquire additional picks while still getting a top defensive talent near the top of the draft. Remaining patient has its benefits.
Finally, it's entirely possible that the Cardinals are only saying they're undecided even though they know what they want to do next week.
Unless a team w No. 1 pick has their player signed, they can’t strategically make public a “decision” because if something happens on or off field before draft night, the damage is done, especially if it impacts the QB who is already in place. #Cardinals— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 16, 2019
The good news is that our wait is nearly over. On April 25, the draft will begin, and the biggest question of the offseason will finally be answered.