The 49ers’ draft situation – already golden with the No. 2 pick in the draft – may have improved now that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is going to play in the NFL.
Murray, a top draft pick of the Oakland A’s, now says he will focus on football rather than basketball after a Heisman Trophy-winning season for the Sooners.
As Nick Wagoner of ESPN notes, that could be a boost for the 49ers’ hopes to land the best pass rusher in the draft.
The Arizona Cardinals have the No. 1 pick and have been linked by many draft analysts to Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.
But now that Murray is coming out in the draft, the Cardinals could trade current quarterback Josh Rosen and use the No. 1 pick on Murray, says Wagoner.
Wrote Wagoner: “The Cardinals … have been connected to Murray since video surfaced of new coach Kliff Kingsbury praising Murray last year and saying he’d take him with the top pick.”
Even though Kingsbury lately has tried to discount that, saying Rosen is the Cardinals’ guy, if that’s just a smokescreen and Arizona does indeed go after Murray, that leaves the 49ers at No. 2 with Bosa, who’s graded as an edge rush talent above Kentucky’s Josh Allen. The 49ers have been projected by many analysts to take Allen with the No. 2 pick.
It’s also possible, notes Wagoner, that if the Cardinals decide to stay with Rosen, they could trade the No. 1 pick to another team deseperate for a quarterback, which could then jump to the top and select Murray – also leaving Bosa for the 49ers.
Much of this scenario will hinge, however, on how Murray performs at the NFL Combine. If Murray does well, teams may well start scrambling to go after the Cardinals’ No. 1 pick.
Already, the analytical website Pro Football Focus is high on Murray as the best quarterback in this draft.
Wrote PFF: “When it comes to projecting Murray’s NFL potential, we here at PFF see a game-changing player at the quarterback position that can keep plays alive and change the face of an NFL franchise.”
If NFL talent evaluators see that, too, that could be very good on draft day for the 49ers.
CORRECTION (Feb. 18, 2019, 9:02 a.m.): A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Nick Bosa.