McShay: Quinnen Williams Favored by Cardinals If They Pass on Kyler Murray

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2019

Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Sunday, March 3, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

If the Arizona Cardinals decide against selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in the 2019 NFL draft, a somewhat surprising name could reportedly come off the board with the No. 1 overall pick.

ESPN NFL draft expert Todd McShay appeared Tuesday morning on Get Up! and said, "I'm told that if Arizona does not go Kyler Murray, if this is all a big smokescreen, that Quinnen Williams would be the pick over [Nick] Bosa at No. 1 for the Arizona Cardinals."

Williams is a versatile defensive lineman out of Alabama who would arguably give Arizona more flexibility than Ohio State's Nick Bosa, who is more of a pure pass-rusher.

Arizona has been heavily linked to Murray throughout the predraft process, and ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said Monday there is a "99.9 percent chance" the Cards will take Murray first overall.

Selecting Murray would likely require Arizona to trade 2018 No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosenfor a discounted price. However, there are several other viable options.

While Murray and edge players Bosa and Josh Allen have received more hype as potential top-three picks, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Williams as the No. 1 overall player on his latest big board.

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Williams was hugely productive as a redshirt sophomore with the Crimson Tide last season, finishing with 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He was a unanimous All-American and an All-SEC First Team selection who also finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Peter Schrager of Fox Sports also reported that Williams dazzled evaluators during the interview process at the NFL Scouting Combine:

Williams would slot in as an immediate starter at defensive tackle with the ability to create pressure and push up the middle, which would complement defensive end Chandler Jones.

Additionally, Williams is a capable run-stuffer who would significantly help an Arizona run defense that ranked last in the NFL last season with 154.9 rushing yards allowed per game and 25 rushing touchdowns surrendered.

Murray may be a good fit for head coach Kliff Kingsbury's high-octane offense, but Williams arguably fills a greater area of need and gives the Cardinals a better opportunity to be competitive in 2019 after going 3-13 last season.