ARIZONA CARDINALS

QB Kyler Murray leads ESPN’s top 25 NFL players under 25

Dec 2, 2020, 9:04 AM

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts against the New England Patriots during the second ...

Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of the game at Gillette Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Kyler Murray barely slipped into Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 25 NFL players under 25 years old released a month ago.

He’s hit a relative wall in terms of rushing production over the last two games, but that’s not submarining expectations for the Arizona Cardinals quarterback in ESPN’s eyes.

There, Murray is at the top of Mike Clay’s list of the best young talent under 25 years old.

Choosing a player to lead this list was not an easy task, since nearly every candidate still has something to prove at the NFL level. And while that is, of course, the case for Murray, the 2019 first overall pick has been an absolute game-changer during his second NFL season. Arizona made the somewhat controversial decision to trade away 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen last offseason, which set the table for its selection of Murray with the first pick of the 2019 draft. Murray has proved it was the right decision, winning the 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year award before making the leap to superstardom in 2020.

Murray is the top-scoring player in fantasy football, and has turned the 6-5 Cardinals into a contender (an impressive feat in a tough NFC West). The do-it-all 23-year-old is the league’s best player under age 25.

Murray won’t turn 25 until Aug. 22, 2022.

This year, the second-year pro is in the top half of the NFL in completions (264), completion percentage (68%), passing yards (2,814) and passing touchdowns (19). He’s added 650 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns with his legs, leading all quarterbacks.

Murray is 11th in ESPN’s QBR metric (72.9) and 14th in passer rating (95.9).

All that’s to say his dynamic rushing abilities combined with his relatively raw passing skillset — which again appear to be top-15 marks league-wide — make for a high ceiling.

And Murray’s not the only Cardinals player to make ESPN’s top 25 players under 25.

Safety Budda Baker, who turns 25 this coming January, finds himself ranked eighth on Clay’s list.

After spending time as Arizona’s primary slot corner earlier in his career, Baker has settled in as a full-time safety. It’s worked out pretty well, as he easily leads all defensive backs with 229 tackles since the start of 2019.

He also ranks second in tackles for loss (15.5) and third in pass-rush wins (15) while adding 2.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a pair of INTs during the span.

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