Cardinals QB Kyler Murray cracks PFF’s mid-year top 25 under 25

Nov 5, 2020, 10:13 AM

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) breaks the tackle of Seattle Seahawks outside lineba...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) breaks the tackle of Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

There are 23 games of film on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, enough to suggest we have a solid grasp of his trajectory as a starting quarterback.

Those early returns indicate the 23-year-old has so far met, if not exceeded, expectations as the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick. Most can agree that his future looks bright.

Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson ranked Murray 24th on a midseason list of the top 25 players under the age of 25 years old.

Murray hasn’t quite taken the leap forward many expected him to as a passer this season with the acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins and an extra year of experience both in the system and at this level, but his floor has been raised so much because of how much he is using his legs. Only Lamar Jackson has more rushing yards at quarterback on designed rushing attempts, and Murray also has the most yards on scrambles in the league. He has also become a goal-line nightmare for defenses and has seven rushing scores in seven games. If Murray does take that next step as a passer, look out, NFL.

The totals for Murray through Arizona’s 5-2 start: 1,847 passing yards with a 67% completion rate, 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions, plus 437 rushing yards on 6.7 yards per carry.

The Cardinals have converted 19 of 25 red zone trips into touchdowns, the fifth-best mark in the NFL, thanks to Murray’s legs creating problems for opposing defenses.

Arizona’s offense is averaging an NFL-leading 419.1 yards per game coming out of its bye, and questions about a sluggish start to its passing attack led by Murray might be waning if we emphasize a trend during the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.

Two of Murray’s last three games set new career highs for passing yards in a single game, with 360 against the New York Jets and 380 in Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks.

So perhaps Murray ranking 24th on Monson’s list — behind Tampa Bay DB Carlton Davis and just ahead of Carolina receiver D.J. Moore — is a bit of a knock considering the importance of his role.

Last year, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was atop PFF’s top 25 under 25.

Now that he’s no longer eligible, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey heads the ranking with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and Cleveland Browns pass-rusher Myles Garrett filling out the top-three.

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