It was simple: Arizona loved Kyler Murray. Even after taking Josh Rosen a year prior, they couldn’t get past the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner.
Reports began to fly in early January that Kyler Murray enamored Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury even made a comment saying that’d draft Murray first overall. Granted, Kingsbury was still comfy in Texas Tech and never thought he’d have the chance to coach him.
Funny how life turns out, right?
Many around the NFL were puzzled by the selection. Why draft an undersized quarterback with several mechanical issues over your prototypical signal caller already in the locker room? Also, the Cardinals were panned by many on the treatment of Rosen during the process. Rosen went on The Rich Eisen show to tell his side, after being traded to the Miami Dolphins.
Rosen said he still hasn’t heard from #AZCardinals GM Steve Keim. Didn’t hear from him in months leading up to this year’s NFL Draft and hasn’t heard from him since.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 14, 2019
But while the Rosen fiasco might be harsh, Cardinals fans should be excited for the Murray regime to begin. According to multiple reports, the former Oklahoma star has been turning heads and making an early impression among the veterans.
“He can throw it,” longtime NFL coach Jerry Sullivan said. “I told him (recently), ‘I don’t give a s–t if you’re 3-feet tall, you can throw the s–t out of it.”
So is Murray really the savior to kick start the Cardinals?
Although OTA’s are just the start, Murray has made early strides heading in the right direction. The Cardinals are one of the few teams perhaps out of contention in 2019, but Murray’s growth could lead them at least out of the worst record spot.
Could Murray finally be the guy to send Arizona to glory? Perhaps. He’ll have to be if Cardinals general manager Steve Kiem wants to keep his job. Even if Rosen sinks or swims in south beach, Murray has to hit. Kiem traded away multiple picks to get Rosen just a season ago, then traded him for the equivalent of the value meal fries from McDonald‘s.
So far, however, Murray is looking like the smart pick. But who else is shining during OTA’s? Welcome into the Two Minute Warning; Pro Football Network’s weekly Monday column where we break down everything going on across the league. Strap in, sip back with your morning beverage and enjoy.
Pringle Popping in Kansas City
Ask any draft analyst who knows what they are talking about, and it’s safe to say about 90% of them would agree Byron Pringle deserved to get drafted. Granted, a late round selection at best, the former Kansas State standout had the size and speed to merit a pick. Instead, Pringle returned to Kansas, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and had a promising preseason before injuring his hamstring.
Returning healthy and finding a niche with the first-team offense, Pringle has a chance to become Patrick Mahomes next top target. With the losses of Chris Conley and potentially Tyreek Hill, the wide receiver room is up for grabs with Pringle, seeming to be leading the way.
“Right before we started (the 2018 regular season) he got hurt, but he was having an outstanding game when he got hurt, leading up to that point,” Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “We were really high on him last year, and he’s taking it. He did a great job on his rehab, number one, and those guys getting him back because he’s looking good. He’s taking it to another level, so we’re really excited about the way he looks right now.”
It’s just OTA’s, but the Chiefs are one of the league’s most exciting teams. After a controversial offseason, Kansas City needs to find something positive to build off. The 25-year-old father of one is certainly doing his best to raise morale.
Campbell catching the craze
Is there any team that has more buzz around them than the Indianapolis Colts? Ok, yeah the Cleveland Browns but at least we’ve seen what Indy can do. Not only does the team finally have a healthy Andrew Luck, but the offensive line has also drastically improved, becoming the league’s top unit in 2018.
The Colts added yet another weapon for Luck in the draft with their second-round selection of Parris Campbell. The speedy receiver out of Ohio State is far from a finished product, but his feet are taking him places early with the organization.
“Campbell certainly doesn’t look like a rookie in his first official team practice,” said Andrew Walker of Colts.com.
“He showed off his speed running routes all over the field, including a nice play out of the slot on a deep slant to the right sideline, hauling in a pass in front of safety George Odum.”
Campbell has the speed to be a vertical threat in the slot, but also find success working the intermediate of the field. Pairing him with TY Hilton should be illegal. Luck’s arm plus their speed? Good luck corners this season.
Rosen was the highlight of the team’s offseason acquisitions but give Chris Grier some credit. Not only did he win his team the draft, but he also might have found Rosen a new weapon for years to come.
Preston Williams was a standout receiver for the Colorado State Rams during his tenure. Unfortunately, after failing multiple drug test and run in’s with the law on domestic violence charges, Williams was unable to appear at the combine. He eventually went undrafted and signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins.
And it’s safe to say both sides are pleased about his arrival.
“Really good,” Rosen said of Williams per Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad. “He’s that big body the NFL receivers are kinda based on in that one-on-one position. He’s a big body, a really talented guy with great hands and I’m really looking forward to developing with him.”
The 6-4 wideout has been trending on Twitter after three straight promising days at OTA’s. Sure, there’s plenty of room for Williams to digress but make no mistake, this isn’t a fluke. Williams was a draftable player who fell due to off the field concerns. While Miami still has a serviceable receiver corp in Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Albert Wilson, they might need to take another step forward.
Williams is the real deal. Expect to hear his name called plenty this season.
Bush Being Baller
Losing Ryan Shazier might be one of football’s most tragic moments. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker has defied the odds, however, going from near paralyzation to walking to even dancing out his wedding. Playing football again might be a dream that isn’t a reality.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert finally came into that reality with the selection of Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. So far, the versatile defender has made the most of his time in the Steel City. According to reports from Sarah Spencer from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the top 10 pick has already made an immediate impact among the veterans in the huddle.
“I’ve only been around him briefly, but I like his style of play from what I’ve seen,” Steelers linebacker Mark Barron said. “He’s really aggressive, really tenacious, a speedy guy. He gets to the ball, and that’s kind of similar to the way I play. I get to the ball. I like that; anytime I see somebody that gets to the ball and plays with a certain attitude, I like it.”
Pittsburgh hasn’t made a move up to draft a defender since 2003. The player? Troy Polamalu. It’s hard to imagine Bush not getting first-team reps but don’t be shocked in year two when he’s the team’s defensive captain. He’s impressed early and isn’t going to give up his spot without a fight.
Callawaaaaay up, I’m impressed
Who needs Odell Beckham Jr. when you can have Antonio Callaway right? No, I’m sorry, that was a bad pun, I’ll stop now. Although the former New York Giants star is a perennial talent, Beckham has missed all of OTA’s to get his mind right.
Enter Callaway, who is making the most of his second season in Believeland.
The former fourth-rounder would have been a top 50 selection if not for his troubled past at Florida. John Dorsey has been known to take chances on troubled players in the past. So far this offseason, Callaway has done more than his fair share to become the Browns’ third weapon for Baker Mayfield.
“He is in good shape relative to what he was in last year during training camp,” Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said via Brown’s site. “He’s added some explosiveness. He has been catching the ball well. He is doing a good job. Just like everybody else, he has to continue.”
Cleveland is the most exciting team of the offseason. Yeah, that’s still weird to say. With the offense looking to take the next step, Callaway’s growth should only help with that. If he can build off his semi-successful rookie season, Cleveland might have the top receiving unit in the league.
It’s Taylor Time!
The Minnesota Vikings have been looking for that third receiver to pair with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Laquaon Treadwell has passed the point of the bust while you probably can’t name another Vikings pass catcher. Go ahead, do it?
Jordan Taylor spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos, collecting 29 receptions for 351 yards and two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference. He missed the 2018 season after having surgery to fix his hip. A year later, Taylor could be the name we keep talking about for seasons down the line.
“He’s a diamond in the rough,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “If a route calls for him to get to 14 yards, he gets to 14, and he doesn’t get to 13. If it’s a double move, he runs a double move with the right technique. He gets to the right spot and catches the football when it’s a tough catch…He is going to be a big asset and probably one of those players who is quietly acquired, but ends up being anything but quiet come the season.”
The Vikings signed the 27-year-old off a whim. Now, he’s likely going to be a part of their roster. If he can turn into a reliable third option on the outside, life should be great in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
10. Although not a star of OTA’s, Saints’ center Erik McCoy has earned his right into the first-team offense. The former Aggie has shown great discipline while learning the new offensive scheme under Sean Payton. The Saints signed Nick Easton this offseason, but McCoy should be the long-term replacement for Max Unger.
9. One position that always seems to be under pressure in year 2 is the quarterback. So far, Josh Allen has been all the talk of Buffalo’s training camp. According to Bills quarterback coach Ken Dorsey, the former Wyoming star has already corrected the little mistakes to help upgrade his passing. Not only has Allen impressed the coaching staff, but fellow offensive players are giving him high praise stepping into a leadership role.
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) May 28, 2019
8. Don’t expect the Houston Texans to give away any information on who will be starting on their offensive line. According to reports from The Athletic’s Aaron Reiss, Houston is looking at multiple different formations that include both rookies Tytus Howard and Max Scharping. The team has to be better on the offensive line if they want to keep Deshaun Watson on his feet. Last season, Houston allowed a league-high 62 sacks.
7. Nick Foles returned to practice this week recently finding out his wife had a miscarriage. The team announced earlier late last month Foles would be missing time to deal with a personal issue, leading some to believe something was going on at home. The Super Bowl 53 MVP addressed the situation earlier this week, stating his wife, Tori, helped him return to practice. We here at Pro Football Network wish nothing but the best for the Foles family during this sad time.
— espnW (@espnW) May 31, 2019
6. A team on the rise: The Atlanta Falcons need more love after a dismal 2018 campaign. Part of the team’s failures fell on key injuries on the defensive side of the ball. With a healthy roster and still one of the best offense’s in the game, Matt Ryan and company should be in the hunt for a Lombardi Trophy this season. You can read more about it here.
5. A team on the decline: Look, no matter how you put it, I don’t see a worse roster in the NFL than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yeah, I think Miami’s roster is better.
With so many holes in the secondary along with key losses in free agency, it’s hard to imagine Bruce Arians turning this roster around. Sure, OJ Howard, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans all are solid weapons but if Jameis Winston can’t hit them, how good is this team? Never forget that time when Arians took the 2017 Arizona Cardinals to an 8-8 record. Let’s see if he can recreate the magic again.
4. Hard Knocks is soon to be back, guys! The hit HBO show is primed and ready for another exciting season after last season’s hit magic of the Browns. Let’s take a look at the resumes of every team up for a chance to make the show.
Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, New York Giants: They’re not the Raiders.
Oakland has to be the selection or we riot. Riot I tell you!
3. Speaking of coaches that could be on Hard Knocks, Jay Gruden deserves a round of applause. While Washington has always struggled under the other Gruden brother, most of his rosters have been mediocre at best. That’s due to poor management and ownership making signings in free agency. When asked about the potential being on Hard Knocks in future years, Gruden bluntly told them if the team is on the show, he’s likely on a new roster.
“If we don’t make the playoffs, I probably won’t be here anyways,” Gruden said. “They can come here and do it all they want.”
Loveable Jay. At least you know it’s win or go home time.
2. As Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline addressed this week, the New York Jets could finally have their next GM. Philadelphia Eagles VP of Personnel Joe Douglas is in New York this weekend and had his meeting on Saturday evening for the opening. Douglas is considered the front-runner for the position and should hear news in the coming days.
1. Make sure you check out the Pro Football Network’s Podcast station. This week, Kai’Chien and Eric speak on Rosen’s status in Miami, the growth of Williams and potential landing spots of Gerald McCoy.
Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.