If it was up to Marvin Lewis, he wouldn’t be taking the possible No. 1 overall pick ... with the first overall pick.
Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray quickly has become the buzzy figure in the 2019 NFL draft, and there has been a lot of noise about the Arizona Cardinals, owners of the top selection, switching gears and making Murray their guy and possibly moving on from Josh Rosen, their first-round pick a year ago.
Lewis, the former Cincinnati Bengals head coach, said on NFL Network that he would advise against the Cardinals do that.
“I just think this team, this group of players, they drafted a quarterback [Rosen] last year, and I think you gotta go in with him as your starting quarterback and build your football team around him with a young quarterback,” Lewis said.
That’s a bit of a circuitous answer, and it appears as if Lewis was slightly caught off guard by Rich Eisen’s question about Murray. But he seemed to get back on track with the meat of why it might be a bad move for Arizona.
“I don’t think as a football team and a franchise you can afford to start over again,” Lewis said. “Every time you draft a young quarterback, you’re starting from scratch.”
Lewis does have a point, but ...
He’s right in that drafting back-to-back QBs in Round 1 is an extremely rare move, with the last time it happened being in 1982 and 1983 when the Baltimore Colts selected Art Schlichter fourth overall one year and John Elway first the next year. (Of course, the Colts drafted Elway and then traded him to the Denver Broncos, so those were unique circumstances.)
Lewis’ point about shifting gears again — after already admitting a mistake following former head coach Steve Wilks’ firing after one year — absolutely applies to the Cardinals. If new head coach Kilff KIngsbury and GM Steve Keim have identified Murray as their preferred choice, they likely would need approval from above via ownership.
But now that they’ve already moved on from Wilks and hired Kingsbury, shouldn’t they give the new coach the quarterback who might be ideal for the system he runs?
Lewis said he is a Rosen fan
Lewis said he was at the pro-day workouts of both Rosen, who went 10th overall, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, who went first in the 2018 NFL draft. The former Bengals coach said he was there at both schools to scout other players but that Rosen’s “presence” and “how he carried himself” impressed Lewis.
“[Rosen] reminded me of a starting quarterback in the National Football League, and one that I know well that we drafted in ‘03 in Carson Palmer,” Lewis said.
It was an interesting comparison. And it’s one that is worth kicking around a bit. Lewis was hired the year that the Bengals made Palmer the first overall pick, and Lewis said he was “all on board” with that decision.
So using that logic, shouldn’t Kingsbury be afforded the same latitude with his first-overall QB selection?
“Well than that's the decision they make,” Lewis said. “But again, I can't speak for [what the Cardinals might think]. You asked me, and I tell you we are going to build the football team because we can't afford to lose anymore. Because I am going to lose those [veteran] players.”
Lewis amassed a record of 131-122-3 (.518 win percentage) in his 16 years as Bengals coach, making the postseason seven times but never winning a playoff game there, before he and the team mutually parted ways this offseason. Coincidentally, the man who replaced him in Cincinnati — Zac Taylor — was present at Murray’s pro day on Wednesday.