NASHVILLE — Kyler Murray completed his unlikely transformation on Thursday night, evolving in less than a year from a college backup planning a career in baseball to a Heisman Trophy-winning No. 1 overall pick in the N.F.L. draft and a prospective franchise quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.
Murray was supposed to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics, who chose him with the ninth pick in last year’s Major League Baseball draft and promised him a signing bonus of more than $4 million. But after his success in his final year at Oklahoma, Murray fulfilled his childhood dream to become the top pick in the N.F.L. draft, virtually assuring himself a four-year rookie contract that will be worth about eight times the A’s money.
“It’s surreal,” Murray said on Thursday, wearing a pink three-piece suit — inspired, he said, by “The Great Gatsby” movie of 2013.
[Read our pick-by-pick analysis of the first round of the N.F.L. draft.]
Murray became the second consecutive Heisman-winning Sooners quarterback to be selected first over all. The Cleveland Browns took Baker Mayfield at the top of last year’s draft.
After Murray’s selection came a string of defenders: The San Francisco 49ers picked Ohio State defensive lineman Nick Bosa at No. 2; the Jets took Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams at No. 3; the Oakland Raiders took Clemson defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell at No. 4; and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Louisiana State linebacker Devin White at No. 5.
The only major surprise was Ferrell, who had been projected to go lower. The Raiders do need star power in their front seven, having traded Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears at the beginning of last season, but they were expected to select Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen, who instead fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 7.
At No. 6, the Giants took the second quarterback of the draft, Duke’s Daniel Jones. Like their current quarterback, Eli Manning, Jones benefited from the undergraduate tutelage of David Cutcliffe, the Duke coach who was Manning’s coach at Mississippi (as well as the quarterbacks coach for Manning’s brother, Peyton, at Tennessee). The Giants also selected Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence at No. 17, and they traded their second-round pick and two later picks to the Seahawks for the No. 30 slot, which they used on Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker.
The third quarterback selected was Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State’s Heisman finalist. He went at No. 15 to the Washington Redskins.
The theme of the first round, which will be followed by six more Friday and Saturday, was a rush on defensive linemen: Eight were among the first 20 picks.
Among quarterbacks, a recent first-rounder is likely to end up on the market soon: Josh Rosen, the U.C.L.A. product who was taken 10th over all last year by Arizona. On Thursday, the Cardinals became the first franchise to select quarterbacks in the first round in successive years since 1983, when the Baltimore Colts took John Elway at No. 1 (against his wishes, and before trading him to the Denver Broncos) a year after selecting Art Schlichter at No. 4.
It would be highly unorthodox — and probably illogical — to keep Murray and Rosen on the same roster. Instead, the Cardinals will probably look to move Rosen — a classic, 6-foot-4 dropback passer who started most of Arizona’s games last season, to a team with an established, older starter.
With the Cardinals, Murray will work under the first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who at Texas Tech played quarterback and coached in the same Air Raid offensive system that Murray thrived in at Oklahoma.
Referring to his college recruitment, when Texas Tech made him an offer, Murray reflected on “finally being able to play for Coach Kingsbury” and said, “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time.”
“I don’t like call it the ‘Air Raid,’ ” he said of the pass-happy scheme. “It’s just the offense. I will say it is explosive. We like to score points.”
Murray is shorter than the prototypical quarterback, at 5-10 (plus another eighth of an inch, according to a measurement at last month’s N.F.L. combine). Most franchise quarterbacks stand comfortably north of 6 feet. However, he is more mobile than classic dropback quarterbacks, such as Tom Brady, and he figures to play the position like the slinging Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, who was last season’s breakout star.
Shorter quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have thrived. So have less conventional ones (Cam Newton, Dak Prescott) and ones who operated in seemingly not-safe-for-the-N.F.L. offenses in college: Mahomes played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech.
The Cardinals’ choice meant that four of the last five No. 1 picks have been quarterbacks, and 8 of the last 11, as well as 16 of the last 22.
Bosa is the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa, the third overall pick of 2016, and the son of John Bosa, another defensive lineman, who played for the Miami Dolphins in the late 1980s.
At a news conference Thursday night, Nick Bosa addressed several controversial tweets that he had admitted to deleting recently — including one that called Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality, a “clown.”
“I’ve learned from it,” he said. I was insensitive in some of the things I was saying.”
He added, “I think my teammates will learn what kind of person I am once I get in the locker room.”
The first round featured two members of Michigan’s standout defense: linebacker Devin Bush, taken 10th by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and defensive lineman Rashan Gary, a graduate of Paramus High in New Jersey, whom the Green Bay Packers selected at No. 12. Three Clemson defensive linemen were selected, including Christian Wilkins at No. 13 by the Miami Dolphins. In a rarity, two Iowa tight ends were picked in the first round: T.J. Hockenson, at No. 8 by the Detroit Lions; and Noah Fant, at No. 20 by the Broncos.
A crowd braved rain on the downtown strip of Nashville that is famously dotted with the neon lights of music clubs. The boulevard led up to a covered stage just across the Cumberland River from the Titans’ Nissan Stadium. The downpour did not dampen fans’ desire to join every other N.F.L. draft crowd in booing Commissioner Roger Goodell as he approached the podium to announce each pick.
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