ARIZONA CARDINALS

Where NFL execs see Cardinals’ Kyler Murray in Rookie of the Year race

Dec 19, 2019, 8:15 AM | Updated: 5:05 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) eludes Cleveland Browns defensive back Sheldrick Red...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) eludes Cleveland Browns defensive back Sheldrick Redwine (29) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray wouldn’t be a bad pick to win the NFL Rookie of the Year Award.

He was named as an alternate to attend the 2020 Pro Bowl this week and as it stands is the only NFL quarterback with 3,000 or more passing yards and 500-plus yards rushing.

But is he the pick for rookie of the year?

While media members get to make that decision down the road, only six NFL executives among a panel of 24 who were polled by NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero selected Murray as the 2019 rookie of the year. Fifteen of them voted for Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs instead.

“He’s playing on a bad team, and he’s elevated the team,” an NFC executive said of Murray. “O-line’s not great. I don’t think they have great weapons. The defense is 32nd. I’d give it to him, based on what he’s overcome.”

Jacobs indeed has a strong case to win the award.

The 24th overall pick has 1,150 rushing yards and seven scores while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Oakland is a tad more relevant than Arizona (4-9-1) with a 6-8 record, good enough for second place in the AFC West heading into Week 16.

Of course, the Cardinals and their fans would probably want to give Murray a little more credit. From the day he arrived, the No. 1 overall pick has been tasked with leading a team that went 3-13 last year.

He hasn’t looked like a rookie with a completion percentage of 64.7 and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 17:10.

His QBR (58.3) is 14th in the NFL, ahead of players like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, while his passer rating (87.5) ranks 19th. For a rookie, all that is pretty darn solid.

“I think until you’re in that seat and feel that type of all-encompassing pressure each and every day, you don’t know what it is,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said this week. “Then you have a bunch of grown millionaires looking at you for direction and leadership and how you carry yourself, and that’s a lot to walk into.

“I just think the comfort level of being able to handle that every day and that expectation on him every day. This franchise goes as he goes, whether it’s in a meeting or at practice or in a game. I think he’s growing into that.”

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Where NFL execs see Cardinals’ Kyler Murray in Rookie of the Year race