Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft: Retooling the Roster Around Franchise QB Kyler Murray

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Following an embarrassing loss to the Denver Broncos, the Arizona Cardinals find themselves looking to the 2023 NFL Draft. Kyler Murray is out for the remainder of the season, but in this mock draft, it is time to retool the roster around him.

The Arizona Cardinals suffered one of the biggest losses that a team can suffer last Monday Night vs. the Patriots — and I am not talking about the outcome of the game. Kyler Murray, the team’s franchise QB, went down with a non-contact injury early in the first quarter. Their greatest fears were confirmed after the game, as the team announced their starting signal-caller suffered a torn ACL.

An injury is never a good thing, but the timing is particularly terrible for the Cardinals. Before the 2022 season, Arizona gave long-term contract extensions to their general manager, head coach, and starting quarterback. Of course, the Kyler Murray contract was substantially pricier than the other two contracts.

Now, the team is without two of those three guys. General manager Steve Keim stepped away from his duties this week, citing health-related reasons. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury could be out the door soon, as well.

The future of the franchise begins and ends with their $230.5 million man behind center. When Kyler Murray is on the field, he is the difference maker for Arizona. The former No. 1 overall pick has shortcomings in his game, no pun intended, but he can take over a football game in ways few in the sport can match.

The timing of his injury is unfortunate, mostly because his recovery could bleed into the 2023 NFL regular season. Kyler Murray uses uber-athleticism to win outside of the pocket, but another concern with a torn ACL is whether or not a player can regain their pre-injury ability.

Considering how far technology has advanced, ACL injuries have a much higher bounce-back rate than before. Hopefully, Kyler Murray will be back on the gridiron dicing up defenses with his strong arm and mythical scrambling ability. The rest of the organization around him? That is a different story.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury sports an under .500 record during his time as a head coach, NFL and college combined. Kingsbury and Kyler Murray have not always seen eye to eye during their time together. The relationship isn’t dead, but images of the two yelling at each other tell us that there is an obvious rift.

General manager Steve Keim may not return to the franchise. I won’t speculate on health-related absences; I will merely wish Keim the best and wait for further information. Keim has been with the Cardinals since 1999, starting his tenure as a regional scout and working up to general manager, a position he has held since 2013.

Following the 11-6 campaign, which saw the group earn a postseason berth, the trio received long-term deals and looked to be joined at the hip for the foreseeable future. Not even 12 months later, the path forward for each guy seems to be branching in opposite directions from the others.

Arizona Cardinals Mock Draft: Retooling the Roster Around Franchise QB Kyler Murray

Regardless of what happens with the power dynamic in Arizona, the franchise is going to have a very high first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Cardinals sit at No. 5 overall in this mock draft, and following the loss of Kyler Murray, it is unlikely to get any better.

The Cardinals have the following teams remaining on their schedule: vs.Bucs, @Falcons, @49ers. That may read as two under .500 teams and the Niners, but you should never underestimate Tom Brady. Against the aimless Broncos, the Cardinals failed to put up a fight. It would not be a surprise to see Arizona enter as the underdog in each of its final three games.

Let’s attempt to add talent to this roster with a 7-Round Mock Draft. Without knowing who will be calling the shots during the 2023 NFL Draft, there are several different ways it could go. The draft order is set by Tankathon.

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