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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Cardinals create glut at quarterback by selecting Murray

Thu Apr 25 9:10pm ET
By JOHN MARSHALL
AP Sports Writer

Players: Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray shows off his new jersey after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray waves after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after the Arizona Cardinals selected Murray in the first round at the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals ended months of speculation by taking Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick of the NFL draft.

Now they have to decide what to do with Josh Rosen.

The Cardinals moved up five spots to take Rosen with the 10th overall pick of the 2018 draft and made it two straight first-round quarterback picks with their selection of Murray on Thursday night.

''I'm blessed to be here,'' Murray told the NFL Network in Nashville. ''I'm ready to go. No matter what the situation is, I'm a winner. I'm ready to go.''

Rosen had an up-and-down rookie season after being drafted out of UCLA, throwing for 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions.

The hiring of former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury during the offseason changed the dynamic in Arizona.

Kingsbury's wide-open offense put up prodigious numbers in Lubbock and twice produced the national leader in passing yards.

The 39-year-old coach has brought his pass-first offense to the desert and Murray seems to be the perfect fit to run it. Kingsbury even recruited Murray to Texas A&M when he was the offensive coordinator there in 2012.

Though small for a quarterback at 5-foot-10, Murray is strong-armed and shifty. He threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns with 11 interceptions at Oklahoma last season, and added 1,001 yards and 12 more touchdowns on the ground.

A backup to Baker Mayfield in 2017, he followed in the footsteps of his former teammate by winning the Heisman Trophy and being taken with the No. 1 overall pick a year later. Mayfield, now with the Cleveland Browns, quickly congratulated his successor in Norman.

''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.''

The Cardinals had been on the clock for three months, yet have seemed to have a hard time deciding what to do with the fourth No. 1 overall pick in franchise history.

Murray's decision to play football instead of baseball added a layer of intrigue, even with Rosen on the roster.

Arizona's brass said it was still undecided days before the draft, leaving fans and media wondering if they would take Murray, pick a defensive player or trade down and get more value.

It ended up being Murray, giving the Cardinals two top-10 quarterbacks - and some decisions to make.

Player Notes
Ian Thomas Jun 19 5:30pm ET

Carolina Panthers tight end Ian Thomas (leg) was seen riding the stationary bike on the sidelines during offseason practices, and his left leg was wrapped in a sleeve. Head coach Ron Rivera said he is hopeful Thomas will be ready to go for training camp and the preseason. Thomas figured to have a large role heading into 2019, but veteran Greg Olsen is back. As long as Olsen (foot) can remain healthy, Thomas will likely see sporadic playing time. However, Olsen's health has been a major concern over the past two seasons, and Thomas could be just one play away from a big role. He is one to remember for waiver wire purposes during the season.

From RotoBaller

KeeSean Johnson Jun 19 5:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Keesean Johnson is one of the three rookie receivers the team brought in during the draft, along with Hakeem Butler and Andy Isabella. Johnson didn't run the quickest 40-yard dash of the trio at the NFL Scouting Combine, but wide receivers coach David Raih likes Johnson's game. "You could put a glass of water on his head and he could run 80 yards without spilling a drop," Raih said. "He's like a motorcycle. It's all one piece." The trio of rookies will have a fierce battle for targets behind future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and second-year wideout Christian Kirk. One rookie will likely have a larger role, while one might be the fourth or fifth receiver and fighting for crumbs. It's a battle to watch in training camp and the preseason before investing too much.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Williams Jun 19 5:00pm ET

The Arizona Cardinals released veteran cornerback David Amerson, meaning Robert Alford will either remain at right cornerback during the absence of Patrick Peterson (six-game suspension), or move left during his suspension. If he moves, Byron Murphy and Tramaine Brock would compete for the starting job at right cornerback for the first six games. The team also has Nate Brooks, Chris Jones, Deatrick Nichols and Brandon Williams jockeying for position. It's going to be a spirited battle in training camp and the preseason, and the Cardinals defense should be improved heading into 2019, but not necessarily enough to warrant fantasy consideration outside of the deepest leagues.

From RotoBaller

Ricky Seals-Jones Jun 19 5:00pm ET

Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (neck) has been able to participate in organized team activities (OTAs), but he and fellow tight ends Charles Clay and Maxx Williams are finding the looks rather scarce in head coach Kliff Kingsbury's new spread offense. Early on in offseason practices the Cardinals have used a 10 Personnel package frequently, featuring four wide receivers, one running back and no tight ends on the field. RSJ, Clay and Williams might be fighting for scraps in the offense, and their fantasy outlooks are rather bleak at the moment.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Jun 19 4:50pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds is making adjustments on the field and trying to put himself in better shape for a larger role in 2019. "I come on that field every day a lot more confident in my abilities," Edmonds said. "Last year was kind of walking on eggshells, and my mentality was more like to not mess up, as opposed to just make big plays." He played the spread offense in college, and is excited by head coach Kliff Kingsbury's new scheme, too. David Johnson will be the bellcow in Arizona, as long as he is healthy, but Edmonds is a player to watch in deeper fantasy leagues, particularly in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Michael Thomas Jun 19 11:53am ET

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas and the team remain far apart in contract talks, and nothing is imminent. However, both sides are motivated to get a deal done.

Fantasy Spin: Thomas is an elite WR1 whether he has a new deal in place or not.

Josh Gordon Jun 19 11:53am ET

New England Patriots WR Josh Gordon, who is on the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list, posted a video of him working out with Patriots QB Tom Brady Wednesday, June 19.

Fantasy Spin: There has been speculation that Gordon could be reinstated again, and he's still such a tease of a fantasy asset. Keep tabs on his situation.

C.J. Prosise Jun 19 2:33am ET

Seattle Seahawks RB C.J. Prosise could be cut in order to keep RBs J.D. McKissic and Travis Homer, in the opinion of the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta, who believes the team may not be able to sneak Homer onto the practice squad and that McKissic's dependability gives him an edge over Prosise.

Nick Vannett Jun 19 2:33am ET

Seattle Seahawks TE Will Dissly (knee) is the only lock to make the 53-man roster among its tight ends, in the opinion of the Seattle Times' Bob Condotta, who gives the edge to TEs Nick Vannett and Jacob Hollister for the other two spots.

DeAndre Hopkins Jun 18 10:13pm ET

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins averaged 3.11 yards per route run from the slot in 2018, the third-highest average among qualified receivers per Pro Football Focus.

Michael Thomas Jun 18 10:03pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas averaged 3.68 yards per route run from the slot in 2018, easily the highest average among qualified receivers per Pro Football Focus.

Matthew Stafford Jun 18 4:23pm ET

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) played all 16 games in 2018 to run his consecutive-starts streak to 128 despite reportedly finishing the season with broken bones in his back, according to Mike O'Hara of the team's website. 'He had a broken back last year. Broken bones in his back. ... It's been reported. I read that. Word gets out in the NFL,' O'Hara said during a recent episode of his weekly podcast with WJR's Ken Brown.

Fantasy Spin: Stafford played through a multitude of injuries last season - chest, finger and back among them. His production slowed down considerably around midseason and took another hit in December, although most of his supporting cast was already gone or out for the season at that point. Detroit is talking up its desire to be a running team, but it's a safe bet Stafford will still perform at a solid QB2 level in fantasy if he stays healthier in 2019.

Julio Jones Jun 18 2:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons WR JUlio Jones will have a long-term contract extension before training camp arrives, according to 'confident' team sources.

Fantasy Spin: Jones turned 30 in February but posted an NFL-most 1,677 receiving yards last season and is in a good spot to garner the last big contract of his career. As for fantasy 2019, Jones should be one of the top four receivers off the board in any format.

Drew Brees Jun 18 1:53pm ET

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees turned 40 in January, but the team is dealing with the situation on a year-to-year basis. 'I think we look at it in terms of, 'Hey, this year,' you know? And man, he had a great season last year, and we expect a great season this year,' Saints general manager Loomis said recently. 'And so for as long as he wants to play and can play, he's going to have that opportunity.' Thanks to restructured contract that pushes a $10-million-plus cap hit to 2020, Brees will count more than $21 million against the cap that season, and number will increase if Brees isn't signed to a new deal that will kick some of that hit over future seasons.

Fantasy Spin: Brees is on the Tom Brady "better-with-age" track, throwing for 3,992 yards and 32 TDs in 2018 while finishing eighth among fantasy QBs -- his 15th straight season in the top 10. And, surprise, he looks to be a low-end QB1 again this fall. If he falls to you as your starting QB later in the draft, chalk it up as a good value.

T Y Hilton Jun 18 12:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton averaged 2.64 receiving yards per route run from the slot in 2018, which ranked fourth among wide receivers who played at least 100 snaps.

Fantasy Spin: Despite missing two games and being at less than something than full power in a couple others, Hilton bounced back with Andrew Luck's return last season to finish 15th among fantasy wideouts. Look for a low-end WR1 finish if Hilton (and Luck) have reasonably good health fortune in 2019.

Rodney McLeod Jun 18 11:43am ET

Philadelphia Eagles FS Rodney McLeod (knee) expects to be ready for training camp, and he's on schedule in his rehab from torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.

Mike Evans Jun 18 10:53am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans restructured his contract Tuesday, June 18, which created $3.2 million in 2019 salary cap space.

Trey Burton Jun 18 9:00am ET

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said he "feels good" about tight end Trey Burton (hernia) being ready for the start of training camp this summer. Burton had hernia surgery this offseason. The 27-year-old caught a career-high 54 passes (76 targets) for 569 yards and six touchdowns in his first year in Chicago with Nagy running the show. In this improving offense, Burton could improve further and will be a strong TE1 as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks in training camp.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jun 18 9:00am ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (ankle) has missed all of the team's offseason workouts as he recovers from ankle surgery, but he expects to be 100 percent healthy in time for training camp. Kelce is one of a kind at the tight end position and should be the first name off the board at the position in fantasy drafts despite his ankle injury. The 29-year-old caught a career-high 103 passes (150 targets) for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and has superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing him passes. Kelce has now gone over 1,000 yards receiving in three straight seasons. He's pretty good.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Jun 18 9:00am ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Carlos Hyde, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, has occasionally lined up next to starter Damien Williams in the backfield at minicamp and has frequently been used as a receiver. "It's not just a one-dimensional running back here. You do it all. You line up at receiver. You actually run routes. You're not just a decoy," Hyde said. It's all fine and dandy right now, but it remains to be seen how much run Hyde will actually get when the games matter. At best, he's a handcuff for Williams owners in fantasy drafts. The 28-year-old floundered with both the Browns and Jaguars in a disappointing 2018 season. He had 10 combined receptions in 14 games last year.

From RotoBaller