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NFL Draft 2019: Kyler Murray goes No. 1, ready for challenge in Arizona

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Redshirt junior quarterback Kyler Murray gets ready to throw the ball during the Orange Bowl against Alabama Dec. 29.

Kyler Murray’s favorite movie is “The Great Gatsby.” Anyone watching the 2019 NFL Draft Thursday night figured that out quickly.

Dressed in a wool pink, maroon pinstripe suit, Murray’s extravagant outfit would have made even Leonardo DiCaprio a little jealous.

But anyone that follows Murray on social media didn’t need to see his suit to know the former Oklahoma quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has an obsession with the movie. Murray, who was drafted No. 1 overall by Arizona Thursday, has posted several times on his Instagram story references to the movie, including his bio which reads “Green Light.” His new shoes — the Nike K1’s — even feature the Green Light stitched into the side.

In the book and movie, the Green Light represents Gatsby’s dreams for the future. Throughout the story, Gatsby is constantly looking at the light, hoping to one day reach his lifelong goal of love and wealth. Murray, like Gatsby, has been dreaming of one day fulfilling his lifelong goal of being an NFL quarterback.

For Murray, his Green Light now rests in Glendale, Arizona.

“Crazy. It’s a surreal moment, having my family here and my coaches, teammates, friends and family,” Murray said at a press conference in Nashville after he was drafted. “It’s a surreal feeling that I’ve dreamed of my whole life.”

Murray's path to Arizona has been a well-reported one: He went 43-0 as a starter in high school, transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma and won the Heisman Trophy in his lone season with the Sooners. Oh, and he was drafted No. 9 overall in the 2018 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. 

Since falling to Alabama 45-34 in the Orange Bowl of the College Football Playoff, Murray has been the center of discussion in the college football world. His decision — football or baseball — was widely debated. Once he chose football, his size — 5-foot-10, 207 pounds — became the new topic of choice.

"I'm just so proud of Kyler and the way he's handled this entire process," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "He's gone through something that no one has ever gone through with the amount of scrutiny in different sports, the hype that he's had since he was such a young kid. To see him get to this moment as the No. 1 pick, that's been his dream. To see him live this part of it out is awesome."

Through it all, Murray remained unfazed, much like he did during the 2018 season.

“I can’t control what people say about me," Murray said Thursday. "For me, all I do is work hard and let my game prove itself.”

Murray enters an interesting situation in Arizona. The Cardinals are all-in on the dual threat quarterback, trading away Josh Rosen who was their first round pick last year. Murray joins new Arizona Cardinals coach and former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, who recruited Murray out of high school.

“God works in mysterious ways, and me choosing to play football and Coach Kingsbury getting the job with Arizona, us having that relationship for years now, it’s crazy to think that now he is coaching me," Murray said. 

Together, Murray and Kingsbury will be the faces of a franchise hoping to turn around its recent offensive woes. 

"I'm not going to lie to you, I was reluctant," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said Thursday after the draft. "I did not want to watch the tape, I did not want to fall in love with the player. I watched more and more, saw the things he can do. As I continued to get to know the person, as we did all our homework, our due diligence, the more and more I became convinced this was the right guy for us."

Keim was the one to call Murray Thursday, being the first to let him know he was going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. 

“You ready to roll?” Keim said. “We need you to ignite this offense.”

Keim then handed the phone to Kingsbury. 

“It’s time, man,” Kingsburry said. “The talk is over. Now they’ve got to deal with you.”

Murray's journey to being an NFL quarterback, chasing his Green Light, has been everything he dreamt it would be. But he's not done yet.

“I want to be the best to ever play this game," Murray said. "I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication, and I’m ready to do that.”

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I joined The Daily in the fall of 2016 as a sophomore. I've covered the soccer team, both men's and women's basketball, as well as the football team for the past two years. I have been the sports editor since spring 2018.

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