New Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s career timeline: By the numbers
The Arizona Cardinals officially have a new franchise quarterback.
On Thursday, the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray with the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, officially kicking off a new era in the desert.
Unlike those before him, Murray’s path to the No. 1 pick was pretty unconventional. From transferring schools early in his career to backing up a Heisman Trophy winner to starring in another sport, the Oklahoma product has seen it all, and he will now look to turn the Cardinals’ fortunes around going forward.
Here is Murray’s career timeline, by the numbers:
Murray’s success on the football field can be traced back to his high school days, where he put up some unprecedented numbers.
The new Cardinals signal-caller took over as the starting quarterback at Allen High School in Allen, Texas during his sophomore year and proceeded to record a perfect 42-0 record over the next three seasons.
Murray led Allen to three straight state championships during his time there, and was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year after his senior season in 2014.
Murray began his college career at Texas A&M in 2015 and immediately entered a quarterback competition with Kyle Allen.
He lost this competition to Allen but took over as the starter during the middle of the season. He made three starts before relinquishing the job back to Allen, and his results in these games were hit or miss.
His first game as the starter came against South Carolina, and he showed out to the tune of 223 passing yards, 156 rushing yards and two total touchdowns. The next few games weren’t as kind to Murray, however, as he threw for only 296 total yards along with five combined interceptions against Auburn and Western Carolina.
After his freshman season, Murray decided to transfer away from Texas A&M to join the Oklahoma Sooners. He was forced to sit out the entire 2016 season, but came back in 2017 as the backup to eventual Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.
Murray saw limited action in 2017, appearing in seven games and only seeing significant time in four of them. He made the most of his opportunities, though, as he threw for 359 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 18 of 21 passes.
Football wasn’t the only thing Murray excelled at in college, as he was also a key member of Oklahoma’s baseball team.
Murray’s first year on the Sooners’ baseball team in 2017 was a rough one, but he found his stride in 2018, hitting .298 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 51 games. He also stole 10 bases and recorded a .991 fielding percentage, a testament to his all-around skill set.
This great performance on the baseball field opened up a lot of eyes, and as a result, Murray became a very highly regarded prospect in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The Athletics took a chance on Murray’s talent early in the draft, selecting him with the No. 9 overall pick. Murray later signed a contract worth $4.66 million with the A’s and declared his intentions to report to Spring Training the next season, but Oakland still allowed him to return to Oklahoma for one more season of football.
Murray won the starting job this past season after Mayfield’s departure and promptly posted one of the best college seasons in recent memory.
The junior finished third in the nation in both passing yards with 4,361 and touchdowns with 43, and completed 69% of his passes while throwing just seven interceptions. He also got it done with his legs, rushing for 1,001 yards and 12 more touchdowns.
Murray’s great play helped lead the Sooners to their second consecutive College Football Playoff, where they fell to then-top ranked Alabama. He was awarded the Heisman Trophy at the end of the season, beating out Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.
After much debate, Murray decided to forego his baseball career and declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.
The first step after his decision was the NFL Combine, where he had the eyes of the football world firmly focused on him. Things went about as well as they could have for Murray, as he measured in at 5-foot-10, only one inch shorter than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Murray as an option for the Cardinals wasn’t really discussed too much up until the combine, but after his favorable measurements, the hype started to build.
This hype all culminated Thursday night, when the Cardinals officially selected Murray No. 1 overall. He becomes the Cardinals’ first top pick since all the way back in 1958, and the first person to ever be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts.
Murray now joins new head coach Kliff Kingsbury as part of the new-look Arizona offense and will look to turn around a team that ranked dead last in points per game and yards game.