The Arizona Cardinals had the worst record in the NFL last year and were given the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. For many teams, the draft is a way for them to rebuild themselves and fix the holes within their roster. With their top three picks, the Cardinals selected three exciting prospects that fans should keep their eyes on this preseason.
With the first pick, Arizona took Oklahoma’s quarterback and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray. With the 33rd pick, the team selected Washington’s cornerback and hometown kid Byron Murphy. With the 62nd pick, Arizona picked U. Mass receiver Andy Isabella to add depth to the receiving corps. The Cardinals made 11 total selections during the draft but these three men are the ones that should receive the most attention during the preseason.
Isabella is starting preseason off in a tough situation, having a “minor knee issue” according to coach Kliff Kingsbury. Isabella could potentially miss the first game but fans should still expect to see a lot of the U. Mass product.
Isabella put up incredible numbers his senior year, catching 102 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has the size of a slot receiver but is also able to torch opponents with his speed on the vertical route. His ability to play on the outside and the slot makes Isabella a matchup nightmare.
In an offense where four to five receiver spreads are the norm, Isabella will have every chance available to thrive and take that third receiver spot for himself.
Murphy is in a unique position, being drafted on a team with perhaps the best corner in league in Patrick Peterson. He’s able to learn from him and mold his game around Peterson’s mentoring.
However, Peterson is suspended for the first six games of the season due to a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. This will force Murphy into the fire of the NFL as the team doesn’t have any one player who could replicate Peterson’s production. Murphy has a lot of great traits that will help him make a smooth transition into the NFL. His ball hawking skills pair nicely with his high football IQ and his aggressive play style, especially against the run.
Though those aggressive tactics could result in him getting burnt, Murphy has more positives traits than negative. We won’t know if he’ll play slot or on the outside but expect to see plenty of the Scottsdale native in the preseason.
Murray has a perfect blend of media hype and intrigue for the start of the preseason. Fans of the Cardinals want to see how their franchise quarterback plays in the bright lights. Fans of the NFL want to see how’ll his game translate to the NFL and if he’s worth all the hype.
After training camp practice on August 1st, Murray said he doesn’t feel the pressure and is focused on playing well and winning. Murray has so far done well at training camp and has shown the fans and his teammates glimpses of his talent. He’s a freakish athlete with a strong, accurate arm that can make every throw. He’s also running an offense that was practically built for him. Even if he’s placed on a snap count, there’s still plenty of intrigue over the Oklahoma quarterback.
The Arizona Cardinals had numerous issues coming off a 3-13 season. These top three picks are vital in the rebuild of the team, especially the quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see how they perform in the preseason and beyond.