21-year-old quarterback becomes first man to be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB Drafts; Raiders and Giants make three selections on opening night
By Paul Prenderville
Last Updated: 26/04/19 5:17am
Like last year the number one pick the 2019 NFL Draft was a HeIsman Trophy-winning Oklahoma Sooners quarterback – unlike last year it was no surprise on Thursday night when Kyler Murray’s name was picked by the Arizona Cardinals.
Murray followed Baker Mayfield in starting under centre for Oklahoma last year, then by winning the best player in college award and he completed the triple-header when Arizona opted for his skills with their first No 1 pick since the franchise was based in Chicago in the 1950s
The opening night of NFL’s gloriously glamorised three days of the age-old schoolground adage ‘captain first pick’ threw up plenty of trades but no drama with the opening selection.
Murray began to rocket up NFL team’s rankings after declaring for the Draft, committing to football and turning his back on an multi-million dollar contract with the Oakland As having been selected ninth in 2018’s MLB Draft.
On Thursday night in Downtown Nashville, despite late rumours of the Cardinals assessing the credentials of Quinnen Williams, it was Murray that was the first name called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid, all the hard work,” said Murray on stage after the pick.
“Everyone who’s been in my corner, who’s pushed me, I can’t thank them enough. I thank God. This is just surreal.”
Murray links up with new head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the desert and looks a perfect fit for the much-vaunted ‘Air Raid’ college football offensive style especially after Kingsbury had recruited Murray to Texas A&M and said in an October interview while head coach at Texas Tech that he ‘would take Murray with the first pick of the draft if I could.’
The drama doesn’t end there as there will be repercussions with the move coming just 12 months after the Cardinals used their first round selection in 2018 to pick a quarterback.
It was only last year that Arizona traded up to land Josh Rosen with the 10th pick and Rosen’s future remains up in the air. No trade materialised on Thursday night despite speculation throughout the evening and even while the Cardinals were on the clock.
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2019 NFL Draft – Top 10
|(1) Arizona Cardinals||Kyler Murray (QB)||Oklahoma|
|(2) San Francisco 49ers||Nick Bosa (DE)||Ohio State|
|(3) New York Jets||Quinnen Williams (DT)||Alabama|
|(4) Oakland Raiders||Clelin Ferrell (DE)||Clemson|
|(5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Devin White (LB)||LSU|
|(6) New York Giants||Daniel Jones (QB)||Duke|
|(7) Jacksonville Jaguars||Josh Allen (LB)||Kentucky|
|(8) Detroit Lions||T.J. Hockenson (TE)||Iowa|
|(9) Buffalo Bills||Ed Oliver (DT)||Houston|
|(10) Pittsburgh Steelers (from Denver)||Devin Bush (LB)||Michigan|
Mention of last year is apt, in 2018 for the first time since 1999 five quarterbacks were selected in the first round and while buzz had been building around this year’s class only three signalcallers were picked on opening night.
Duke’s Daniel Jones was the second QB called, the New York Giants using the first of their selections to bring in the man they hope will succeed two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning who, at 38, is in the final year of his contract.
Big Blue added Clemson tackle Dexter Lawrence with their 17th pick, the pick they received from Cleveland in exchange for Odell Beckham Junior, and in the closing stages of the evening returned for a third pick.
For the first time in the franchise’s history they had three selections in the opening round, trading up from 37 to take the first cornerback of this year’s class in the shape of Deandre Baker. with the 30th pick
The only other QB called was Maryland native Dwayne Haskins who was picked by the QB-needy Washington Redskins who moved up again later in the evening to pick Montez Sweat.
There was no place in the first round for quarterback Drew Lock, who will be a name to watch when the Draft continues on Sky Sports on Friday and Saturday.
The longest ever run without a wide receiver or running back being selected was halted when Oakland picked RB Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall selection, while the first wide receiver came off the board with the next selection as Baltimore picked up Marquise Brown, the cousin of Antonio Brown.
2019 NFL Draft – Picks 11-20
|(11) Cincinnati Bengals||Jonah Williams (T)||Alabama|
|(12) Green Bay Packers||Rashan Gary (DE)||Michigan|
|(13) Miami Dolphins||Christian Wilkins (DT)||Clemson|
|(14) Atlanta Falcons||Chris Lindstrom (G)||Boston College|
|(15) Washington Redskins||Dwayne Haskins (QB)||Ohio State|
|(16) Carolina Panthers||Brian Burns (DE)||Florida St|
|(17) New York Giants||Dexter Lawrence (DT)||Clemson|
|(18) Minnesota Vikings||Garrett Bradbury (C)||NC State|
|(19) Tennessee Titans||Jeffery Simmons (DT)||Mississippi St|
|(20) Denver Broncos (from Pittsburgh)||Noah Fant (TE)||Iowa|
It’s Murray’s talent, and position, that made him the first name of the board and potentially something of a risk – however in an anticipated generational class of defensive talent, names two and and three on the night are likely to prove All-Pro selections for their teams.
Nick Bosa (49ers) and Quinnen Williams (Jets) were selected after the Murray headline act and both are regarded by experts as the two best players in the Draft and for the first time since 1985 three defensive lineman were selected in the top five when Oakland chose Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell with their first pick.
The Raiders, with three first round selections and a first year general manager in Mike Mayock, added a third name with the 27th pick, opting for Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram while the Patriots ended the evening with the 32nd pick and opted to bolster their receiving corps with N’Keal Harry.
On a memorable evening in Nashville, the host Tennessee Titans did not seek out an alternative to QB Marcos Mariota, or offensive support, instead they chose Jeffery Simmons a defensive tackle who is likely to miss the upcoming season with a torn ACL.
2019 NFL Draft – Picks 21-32
|(21) Green Bay Packers from Seattle Seahawks||Darnell Savage (S)||Maryland|
|(22) Philadelphia Eagles from Baltimore Ravens||Andre Dillard (T)||Washington St|
|(23) Houston Texans||Tytus Howard (T)||Alabama St|
|(24) Oakland Raiders||Josh Jacobs (RB)||Alabama|
|(25) Baltimore Ravens from Philadelphia Eagles||Marquise Brown (WR)||Oklahoma|
|(26) Washington Redskins from Indianapolis Colts||Montez Sweat (DE)||Mississippi St|
|(27) Oakland Raiders||Johnathan Abram (S)||Mississippi St|
|(28) Los Angeles Chargers||Jerry Tillery (DT)||Notre Dame|
|(29) Seattle Seahawks||L.J. Collier (DE)||TCU|
|(30) New York Giants from Seattle Seahawks||Deandre Baker (CB)||Georgia|
|(31) Atlanta Falcons from Los Angeles Rams||Kaleb McGary (T)||Washington|
|(32) New England Patriots||N’Keal Harry (WR)||Arizona St|
Pittsburgh were the first team to make a move up the board, trading up to take Denver’s 10th overall pick to select explosive Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. That was the first of seven trades on the night including Green Bay’s move for safety Darnell Savage and Philadelphia moving up three spots to claim tackle Andre Dillard.
With Day One of the 2019 Draft in the book, comparisons with last year are obvious. Amid all the talk of Josh Allen and Sam Darnold it was Mayfield that the Browns selected and after a brilliant year that transformed the 0-16 Browns, hope reigns for Cleveland who had no first round pick this year.
Whether Murray has a similar effect on his new team remains to be seen.
Coverage of this year’s NFL Draft continues on Sky Sports with Day Two and Three, Friday’s coverage gets underway on Sky Sports Action from 11pm and on Saturday we are underway from 5pm on Action via the red button