INDIANAPOLIS — Steve Keim is either completely serious, or executing some serious front office subterfuge.
At the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, the general manager of the Arizona Cardinals threw some people for a loop with two simple words.
It came amid speculation that his team could move on from 2018 No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen in favor of Oklahoma sensation Kyler Murray. Keim offered up this gem:
“Is Josh Rosen our quarterback? Yeah, he is right now, for sure,” Keim said.
That “right now” changes the possibility of what Keim and the Cardinals could do with the No. 1 pick in April. Long has been the belief that the Cardinals already have their franchise quarterback in Rosen and will take someone like Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa or Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.
Rosen is coming off a rocky rookie season where he completed just 55.2 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11).
The speculation about Murray and the Cardinals really started after the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury as head coach in January. Shortly thereafter, video from October when Kingsbury was the head coach of Texas Tech popped up. In it, he called Murray a “freak” and said he’d take him him with the first pick in the draft if he could.
Keim dismissed Kingsbury’s October comments as simply not wanting to create billboard material for Murray and Oklahoma. Still, Kingsbury said at the combine he’s not surprised his feelings about Murray have gotten plenty of attention.
“I can see why it did, obviously, with how the circumstances played out,” Kingsbury said. “It was before a college game. Obviously, I think the world of Kyler as a player and a person, but the timing of it is pretty unique.”
Keim could also be laying the groundwork for trading the first overall pick. Kingsbury said he wasn’t sure if the Cardinals would trade the pick. Keim seemed open to it.
“If there are five players you think are Pro Bowl type talents that fit what you do and are going to be good in your locker room again you’ll feel comfortable with moving back X number of spots if you’re acquiring a lot of value,” Keim said. “But there’s no doubt that if you’re convinced that that one guy is going to be the biggest impact and the biggest difference you have to sit and take him.”
All of this combined has people wondering about the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Well, for “right now,” as Keim might say.