Cardinals’ Kyler Murray an ‘excellent’ pick in PFF’s 2019 NFL Draft regrade

Jan 23, 2021, 6:45 AM

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a first down against the Buffalo Bills duri...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a first down against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The conclusion of the regular season means most of those taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft have now seen two full years of playing time.

After getting their feet wet their rookie season, the first-rounders’ sophomore years were viewed under a microscope that much more in 2020.

Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash regraded the top 32 picks, including No. 1 overall selection and Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

Instead of reordering the draft, Treash based his regrade if a player surpassed, met or fell short of the expectations that came with their draft position.

Murray was one of just eight players that were regraded as excellent.

Murray didn’t quite have that MVP-esque second-year campaign that many were hoping for, but the 2019 No. 1 overall pick still had an excellent breakout season. After posting a 64.2 PFF grade as a rookie that tied for 26th in the NFL, Murray was a fringe top-10 quarterback in 2020, earning an 82.8 PFF grade that ranked 11th at the position.

It was certainly a step in the right direction in Year 2 for Murray, who earned his first Pro Bowl in 2020.

The signal caller recorded 3,971 yards and 26 touchdowns on 67.2% passing (275-of-558), all career highs. He ended the season with the same amount of interceptions (12) as he did in 2019.

Additionally, the combination of Murray’s continued progress as a NFL passer and the offensive line proved vital in keeping the QB upright. He reduced the amount of sacks taken from 48 to 27.

As a passer, we saw the same beautiful deep ball that Murray displayed in Year 1 and at Oklahoma, as he finished ninth in deep-passing grade in 2020. Murray also looked far more comfortable and composed in rhythm, which is an area he struggled in last season. He went from dead last in in-rhythm passing grade to 12th this past season.

And like many predicted, Murray continued to make defenders miss with his legs in 2020.

Racking up 819 yards and 11 touchdowns on 133 carries (6.16 yards per attempt), Murray put on a show while on the run. He finished tied for seventh among NFL rushers in touchdowns and 17th in yards.

He was deadly with his legs — both on designed runs and scrambles — racking up 32 runs of 10-plus yards, tying with Lamar Jackson for the most by a quarterback.

Looking at the rest of the NFC West, the San Francisco 49ers also earned an excellent grade for selecting defensive end Nick Bosa, while the Seattle Seahawks received a poor rating for drafting defensive lineman L.J. Collier. The Los Angeles Rams did not have a first-round pick in 2019 (traded to Atlanta Falcons).

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