If Cardinals draft a quarterback, they’ll follow in the footsteps of the 1990s Cowboys

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When Kliff Kingsbury said in October that he liked Kyler Murray so much that “I would take him with the first pick,” if he were an NFL head coach, Kingsbury wasn’t expecting to become the head coach of the team with the first overall pick. But he is, and that raises an obvious question: Is Murray to the Cardinals a legitimate possibility?

The Cardinals used their first-round draft pick last year on quarterback Josh Rosen, which would seem to preclude them using their first-round pick this year on a quarterback. But it might not be as farfetched as it sounds: After all, one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history was built by a team that used back-to-back first overall picks on quarterbacks.

That dynasty was the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, who began their rebuilding effort by taking quarterback Troy Aikman with the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft. Three months later, the Cowboys took another quarterback, Steve Walsh, by giving up their 1990 first-round pick in the supplemental draft. The Cowboys ended up having the worst record in the NFL in 1989, which meant that first-round pick they gave up for Walsh turned out to be the first overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft.

But it all worked out well for the Cowboys. Aikman is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and led the Cowboys to three championships. Walsh was later traded to the Saints for a first-round pick, a second-round pick and a third-round pick. One of those picks was used to select Erik Williams, who would go on to become a three-time first-team All-Pro offensive tackle, and the other two picks were used as part of a package to trade up and draft Russell Maryland, who became a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.

So if the Cardinals wanted to, they could draft Murray first overall and then trade Rosen to some other quarterback-needy team and use the picks acquired from the Rosen trade to beef up their roster elsewhere. It’s possible they wouldn’t get much in a Rosen trade, given that he didn’t play well as a rookie, but if that’s the case it’s all the more reason that they shouldn’t pass up on a quarterback they believe in this year just because they drafted Rosen last year: If Rosen couldn’t draw much in a trade, then why would the Cardinals believe Rosen can be the quarterback who gets them where they want to go?

None of this means the Cardinals are likely to buck convention and take Murray or any other quarterback first overall. But it does show that it’s not as unrealistic as some might think.

64 responses to “If Cardinals draft a quarterback, they’ll follow in the footsteps of the 1990s Cowboys

  1. Trade the 1st pick. You’ll get more value from it than trying to trade Rosen who had a very sub-par year. If Kliff is the QB whisperer then he can “fix” Rosen and all will be well with additional picks stockpiled.

  2. Don’t even say that out loud. Great defensive players and receivers available…the last thing we need is an redundant OU QB…Sam Bradford, Jason White…the NFL is where OU QB’s go to prove they had no business winning the Heisman.

  3. I think they’d have better luck trading the pick than either player. I would think plenty of teams would be happy to move up, but not for a quarterback.

    A lot can change between now and then, but if they want to take Murray, it seems like they could safely move down several spots and still get him.
    If he even wants to play football.

  4. Can you imagine the Josh Rosen temper tantrum that would ensue if the Cards did this?

    It would be epic….and hilarious!

  5. The fact that Kyler Murray has a baseball contract complicates it. I seriously doubt Arizona would risk the first overall pick on a guy who may never play in the NFL, even if he says he will.

  6. Nonsense story…

    Kingsbury was asked this while Texas Tech was preparing to play Oklahoma and Murray, and like all coaches do…he heaped ton as of praise on his opponents.

    If he said it Yesterday, its news…

    He did not.

    The Cardinals will not be drafting a quarterback in the first round.

    I fully expect them to trade the pick

  7. waynefontesismyfather says:
    January 10, 2019 at 10:08 am
    Trade the 1st pick. You’ll get more value from it than trying to trade Rosen who had a very sub-par year. If Kliff is the QB whisperer then he can “fix” Rosen and all will be well with additional picks stockpiled.

    ——————————–

    But it depends on who has the higher ceiling – Murray or Rosen?

  8. Still not an especially comparable situation. The reasons for the Aikman/Walsh craziness were:
    1) NFL front offices still did stranger/riskier things in the early 1990s than they have since the start of the new millennium.
    2) Walsh was young head coach Jimmy Johnson’s college QB, so there was clearly a funky GM versus HC thing going on (and for those who think Johnson did everything when it came to building that Cowboy dynasty, this silly move was exhibit A against that notion).
    3) Teams were much looser with draft picks back then, which is how Dallas was able to freelance loads of draft picks from other teams (to the point that the team could afford to do crazier things with some picks). Picks are much more valued and precious in the eyes of teams now.

  9. Anyone who drafts a 5’8″ QB who is not fully committed to football first overall should be fired before the pick is announced. Kid would need 50 cheeseburgers to get to 180 lbs.

  10. I’m sure there are teams out there still high enough on Rosen to send a late 1st or early 2nd for Rosen.

    Sure, it would be taking an immediate loss in value on the Rosen pick but if the team truly believes Murray to be a franchise savior…why not roll the dice?

  11. filmex2000 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 10:14 am
    Don’t even say that out loud. Great defensive players and receivers available…the last thing we need is an redundant OU QB…Sam Bradford, Jason White…the NFL is where OU QB’s go to prove they had no business winning the Heisman
    ==================================================================
    Baker Mayfield??

  12. All I know is Joe Montana didn’t become the GOAT QB until Steve Young was a threat to his QB1 spot. He was good, but when Steve Young became a threat Joe played out of his mind.

    Competition is always goods.

  13. This is the group who convinced themselves that a guy who got fired for never doing any better than 5th in the Big 12 was ready to turn an NFL team around. So, really any crazy idea can’t be ruled off limits for them.

  14. Trade the pick to the Raiders for the cowboys and Bears picks plus a #3 and draft a WR a OT and a LB.

  15. If Murray gives up his pretty much guaranteed 15 year baseball career for a “shot” at an NFL career he is an idiot. The other idiot would be any GM who drafts him in the first round!

  16. Rosen is clearly not the answer. They’re probably on their way to next year’s top pick when they can get the kid from Bama, so might as well trade back and stockpile picks. They have a lot of holes to fill.

  17. Yeah, picking Walsh worked out real well for the Cowboys except for that whole missing out on Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau part.

  18. 49ersfury says: “All I know is Joe Montana didn’t become the GOAT QB until Steve Young was a threat to his QB1 spot. He was good, but when Steve Young became a threat Joe played out of his mind.”
    =============================

    Montana won TWO Super Bowls before Steve Young got there… Pretty sure he was better than just “good” to pull that off.

  19. It’s hard to win at Texas Tech. Lubbock is a flat, featureless cow town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by hicks and oil wells. Here’s how good of a recruiter Kingsbury was to convince talent to go to Lubbock. He had Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, and Davis Webb.

  20. Love it… comparisons of what Jimmy Johnson pulled off as a Hall of Fame coach back in the day with the Cowboys to who? Kliff Kingsbury… LOL

  21. Johnson picked Steve Walsh (declared too late for that year’s draft) in the supplemental draft because he thought he could trade that for another 1st rounder plus a defensive starter. Otherwise you lose that supplemental draft pick if you don’t use it. It was not a tradeable asset.

    Arizona is in a completely different circumstance. The 2019 draft pick can be traded at any time.

  22. waynefontesismyfather says:

    Trade the 1st pick. You’ll get more value from it than trying to trade Rosen who had a very sub-par year. If Kliff is the QB whisperer then he can “fix” Rosen and all will be well with additional picks stockpiled.
    ======================================================

    Being a “quarterback whisperer” is meaningless when you aren’t a good head coach and get fired by a college team because you have a losing record with great QB’s.

  23. Kliff Kingsbury must have an amazing agent. How did he go from where he was to where he is – and so quickly?

  24. Great move by Dallas back day. In 1989 when Dallas went 1-15 Aikman was winless, Steve Walsh got the only win against the Skins.

    A lot of fans/media at the time wanted Steve Walsh to be the QB !

  25. Steelers did something similar in 69 & 70
    Terry Hanratty was highly regarded 2nd round pick in 1969, but came back in 1970 and took Terry Bradshaw with the #1 pick the draft. He went on the lead the Steelers to 4 Superbowl wins.

  26. Draft a QB every year until you get the right guy.. Bad QB equals not many wins in the NFL. Its pretty easy to tell if QB can play or not. Its called the eye test.

  27. arcross12042004scorp15 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Steelers did something similar in 69 & 70
    Terry Hanratty was highly regarded 2nd round pick in 1969, but came back in 1970 and took Terry Bradshaw with the #1 pick the draft. He went on the lead the Steelers to 4 Superbowl wins.
    ———-
    Believe Joe Gilliam was also in the mix. Recall in the early 70’s there was a bit of a QB controversy between Hanratty, Bradshaw and Gilliam.

  28. Trade down, if possible, and acquire more picks (that’s if any other team wants the number 1 pick that badly).

    Who would go number 1? The DL, Oliver, from Houston?

  29. akira1971 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 11:22 am
    49ersfury says: “All I know is Joe Montana didn’t become the GOAT QB until Steve Young was a threat to his QB1 spot. He was good, but when Steve Young became a threat Joe played out of his mind.”
    =============================

    Montana won TWO Super Bowls before Steve Young got there… Pretty sure he was better than just “good” to pull that off.

    —————————-

    Yup. And just think, that was before Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, and Tom Rathman arrived. Roger Craig was actually there for the 15-1 1984 team, but as the blocking fullback (Wendell Tyler was the feature RB) and not the All Purpose monster he would become.

    Steve Young didn’t arrive until 1987. Joe Cool as already a no doubt first ballot HoF by that point. And while great when healthy, he missed significant time with injuries in 87, 88, and 89. 1990 he stayed healthy until Carl Banks broke his back in the playoffs, and then Young took over.

    Regardless, the Cardinals are a rebuilding team. Spending a #1 overall on “competition” is absurd. The 49ers were not a rebuilding team and they did not use the #1 overall pick on a “competition”, Steve Young was a succession plan. Montana was 31, not 22 like Rosen and had a chronic back injury…he only played 8 games the previous year and there were real concerns about how much longer he could stay healthy. This is not a comparable situation at all.

  30. Did anyone even read this article? He said this in October, when he was still at Texas Tech and getting ready to play Oklahoma. It means nothing. My lord people, at least read the story before commenting.

  31. granadafan says:
    January 10, 2019 at 11:28 am
    It’s hard to win at Texas Tech. Lubbock is a flat, featureless cow town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by hicks and oil wells. Here’s how good of a recruiter Kingsbury was to convince talent to go to Lubbock. He had Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, and Davis Webb.
    __________________________

    None of the QB’s you listed were top prospects. Mayfield was so coveted that he was a walk-on and left because he wasn’t offered a ride the next year.

    Hard to sing the praises of his recruiting when there’s not a single blue-chip on his resume.

  32. Trade Rosen to the Giants. Then they will have two jerks at the QB position.

    BTW, am I the only one that is getting annoyed with all of those commercials that the Manning brothers are on?

  33. Walsh was essentially the #1 overall pick in 1990. That’s the price they paid.

    Imagine if Jimmy was able to select Cortez Kennedy???.. of if he got in on the Jeff George trade?? How much more dangerous that 90s team may have been?!

    The Cowboys are fortunate this didn’t explode in their face.

  34. … “If Rosen couldn’t draw much in a trade, then why would the Cardinals believe Rosen can be the QB who gets them where they want to go?”

    Really? How much interest do you think the “bust” Jared Goff would gave gotten after his first year? Really? Didn’t every NFL team pass up Tom Brady 5 or 6 times? Didn’t Kurt Warner go undrafted? Wasn’t Joe Montana a third round pick? This all just means that you can’t evaluate your QB’s based on what the other teams think, when all those other teams have proven time and time again that they have no idea what a star QB looks like. Especially a young star QB. But I’d be willing to bet Bill Belichick might offer a trade for Rosen.

  35. mbara33 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 11:19 am
    Yeah, picking Walsh worked out real well for the Cowboys except for that whole missing out on Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau part.

    —————————-

    Yeah, the Cowboys really missed out. They only got three SB trophies WITHOUT either one of them.

  36. mbara33 says:

    Yeah, picking Walsh worked out real well for the Cowboys except for that whole missing out on Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau part.

    —————

    I guess M missed this part of the article:

    Erik Williams, who would go on to become a three-time first-team All-Pro offensive tackle, and the other two picks were used as part of a package to trade up and draft Russell Maryland, who became a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.

  37. I guess M missed this part of the article:

    Erik Williams, who would go on to become a three-time first-team All-Pro offensive tackle, and the other two picks were used as part of a package to trade up and draft Russell Maryland, who became a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
    =====

    Tez was the precursor to Sapp and revolutionized his position.

    He would have been your modern day Mr Cowboy.

    Don’t fool yourself into believing Maryland was just as good.

  38. Trade Rosen to the Giants for NYG’s 2nd Round pick (?38?)

    Giants get a 1st round QB at a 2nd round price.

    Cardinals dump his cap hit, get a decent 2nd round pick to add OL, AND can pick Kyler Murray #1 overall.

    Cardinals can basically re-do their 2018 pick to fit their new coach/system and it really costs them nothing.

  39. Draft a QB every year until you get the right guy.. Bad QB equals not many wins in the NFL. Its pretty easy to tell if QB can play or not. Its called the eye test.
    =====

    Aikman WAS the eye test. To this day, his is practically the gold standard of QB workouts.

    They were playing with fire here. They’re fortunate this didn’t derail their Dynasty.

  40. aarons444 says:
    January 10, 2019 at 2:06 pm
    Walsh was essentially the #1 overall pick in 1990. That’s the price they paid.

    Imagine if Jimmy was able to select Cortez Kennedy???.. of if he got in on the Jeff George trade?? How much more dangerous that 90s team may have been?!

    The Cowboys are fortunate this didn’t explode in their face.
    ———————–
    I believe Dallas acquired 3 players when they traded Walsh to New Orleans, including Russel Maryland.

  41. mbara33 says:

    “Yeah, picking Walsh worked out real well for the Cowboys except for that whole missing out on Cortez Kennedy or Junior Seau part.”

    Or they could have ended up with Blair Thomas, since running back was such a pressing need, and missed out on Emmitt Smith. Either way, Erik Williams was the best offensive linemen in the game before his car accident. I’d say Dallas did alright.

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