Cardinals’ under-25 core ranked among top 10 in NFL
The Arizona Cardinals are a generally young team, which has led some to project a rough year for them.
But youth brings potential and success in the future. One ranking says the Cardinals are set up well for that.
An ESPN ranking using Football Outsiders numbers recently ranked all 32 NFL teams based on their under-25 talent. The Cardinals placed 10th.
Citing rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and third-year safety Budda Baker as “blue-chip players,” the ranking of No. 10 overall represents a massive jump for the team, which placed 28th in last year’s ranking.
From FO’s Scott Spratt via ESPN.com:
The Cardinals likely sabotaged their chances of a top-five ranking by trading away their first-, third-, and fifth-round draft picks in 2018 to move up and take Josh Rosen, whom they subsequently traded away after one disappointing season for a second- and future fifth-round pick. Still, after finishing 31st and 28th the past two years in the under-25 rankings, 10th is an exciting place to be.
Spratt and his numbers seem to really like Murray despite the capital given up for Rosen:
The silver lining of Rosen’s poor play was that it helped earn the Cardinals get the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2019, and quarterback Kyler Murray will be the team’s best under-25 asset if he can live up to that billing. QBASE would have liked Murray more if he had started more than just one season at Oklahoma, but there’s a good explanation for his lack of playing time: He sat behind fellow Heisman winner and apparent NFL star Baker Mayfield. As a top-10 draft pick in baseball as well as football, it’s clear that Murray has the physical tools to become an exceptional quarterback.
Murray will make his debut for the team Thursday when the Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Chargers to open the preseason.