Late NFL Draft Theatrics Provide Smokescreen Around Murray’s No.1 Pick Status

The 2019 NFL Draft has become a mysterious, captivating land of mass confusion, theatre, bald-faced lies.

Round 1 of the NFL Draft is tomorrow at 8pm EST on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network and the football world moves closer to finding out whether or not Kyler Murray is going to be the No. 1 overall pick.

At one point it seemed to be a given. Now, it’s a mystery and the NFL is reveling in the attention that the draft mystery is bringing the sport. 

In a matter of weeks, everything we thought we knew about the Draft has been turned upside down. I can’t help think that everyone is working in unison — social media, draft analysts, general managers, and players. It’s one big show.

First Dwayne Haskins and Murray were the top two QBs in the Draft. Then the narrative was that Arizona’s rookie coach Kliff Klingsbury was enamored with Murray and was going to pick him No. 1 and trade Josh Rosen.

Then Haskins’ stock started dropping for some reason and his projected trip to New York to take over for Eli Manning, all of a sudden became an unsure thing. Giants GM Dave Gettleman stopped showing Haskins love in public. Rumors emerged about teams having last second doubts about Haskins’ future as a franchise pro, despite him having all the tools and throwing 50 TDs in a tough Big Ten football conference.

According to the latest ESPN Draft Projections, Missouri’s Drew Lock has come out of nowhere — similar to Mitchell Trubisky a few years ago — and is rated as the quarterback in the Draft most likely to become a starter (60 %) and Pro Bowler (17 %), moving past Murray and Haskins.


Lock wasn’t even being discussed as an elite QB in the draft, but his late rise creates more excitement and drama for draft night. Coincidence? Or the machine working in unison?

It’s the kind of nonsense that makes you scratch your head. Same as the 360 on Murray exhibited by Cardinals staff in the days leading up to the draft. On Tuesday, Cardinals HC Kliff Klingsbury told the media that Murray is not a lock as the No. 1 overall pick.

“We’re still working through it. It’s a process but I wouldn’t say the hay is in the barn,” Klingsbury told reporters.

The organizational presently renewed its love affair with Rosen.

“Josh has done everything humanly possible to show what type of quarterback and human he is,” said Klingsbury when asked about Rosen. “ I said it all along I couldn’t be more impressed with his approach. “

That makes you think that the Cardinals are happy with Rosen and less likely to draft Murray No. 1 overall.

This affirmation of Rosen’s abilities comes just a few weeks after Klingsbury gushed over Murray and all of the experts and draft insiders had the two-way phenom, who shunned a $4.6 million signing bonus with the Oakland A’s to play pro football, going to Arizona with the No. 1 pick.

Now granted, any team that hasn’t been in this position since 1967 like the Cardinals, should do its due diligence in deciding this pick. However, all of the mixed signals and crossed messages creates good drama but it also gets kind of annoying.

We don’t know who’s telling the truth and who’s lying anymore and with the onslaught of social media sites and misinformation being circulated, it’s almost impossible to tell.

How do I know that so called draft gurus like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay aren’t blowing smoke half the time? They are part of a fantastic, revenue-generating machine known as the NFL Draft. It’s a multi-step process that keeps fans drawn to the NFL.

Josina Anderson is down with the show too. She says some of the Cardinals staff don’t believe that Murray is that guy, which is making the decision even tougher. The owner’s involved and the empire is split on who should be king signal caller. 

Mad drama.

If the rumors of Murray’s demise holds true, his saving grace could be the Oakland Raiders, who have three plush first-round picks (4th, 24th, and 27th ). Second-year coach Jon Gruden isn’t sold on Derek Carr and has raved about Murray publically.

Going into Easter Weekend confidence was brimming in the Kyler Murray circle, but Anderson says that the tone started to turn as reports surfaced casting doubt over Murray as the No. 1 overall pick.

The NFL Draft process — from the combine to draft night — has become a movie and everyone involved understands that its big business, but also entertainment. Keeping the No. 1 pick is called is perfect theatre for the NFL, the fans and everyone involved.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.