ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray among top 10 QBs in ESPN poll of NFL personnel

Jul 12, 2021, 10:41 AM
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at S...
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has seen progressive growth as an NFL quarterback the past two seasons.

Considered a threat in the air and on the ground, Murray has quickly made a name for himself in the league.

Despite landing 13th in passing yards and second in rushing yards among quarterbacks last season, Murray was ranked 10th among NFL passers, one spot behind second-year signal caller and Los Angeles Charger Justin Herbert.

After NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2019, Murray looked destined to crack the top 10 after Year 2. He did, but not convincingly. The voting drop-off after Herbert was significant, with Murray winning a tiebreaker with Matt Ryan.

Murray’s arm strength and release are impressive, with one NFL quarterback saying he can “throw the s— out of the ball.”

As Fowler noted, Murray led the NFL with 14 completions of at least 40 yards. He set career marks in passing yards (3,971), touchdowns (26) and completion percentage (67.2%). He also saw his sack totals drop from 48 to 27 and chipped in 813 rushing yards to go along with 11 scores on the ground.

He was especially good early on in the season, rattling off 2,375 passing yards and 17 touchdowns on 68.2% accuracy.

The last seven weeks of the season painted a different story, however.

But his play faded late in the season, with a 57.0 Total QBR over the season’s final seven weeks, ranking 19th out of 32 eligible quarterbacks. Murray was ninth over the first 10 weeks, at 76.9.

While the numbers show a downturn, Murray was also dealing with a shoulder injury in the later part of the year.

“He’s very talented. Some of issues are outside of him — I don’t think [the Cardinals’] style of play is conducive to winning big games late in the season,” an AFC scout told Fowler.

“Even though the NFL is more open with more passing, really good teams still put an emphasis on defense and running the ball. They are the complete opposite.”

The other NFC West quarterbacks in the ranking were the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson at No. 4 and the Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford at No. 6.

As for Herbert, a notable riser ahead of Murray, he is already turning heads following an impressive rookie year.

Herbert has the NFL’s attention in a big way, appearing on as many ballots as Prescott and Stafford. He didn’t have any top-five votes, but evaluators had a difficult time keeping him off after an explosive rookie year with the Chargers.

He’s hard to ignore in person, too.

“Big as hell. Looks like Megatron,” a Pro Bowl running back said of the 6-foot-6, 237-pound passer. “He’s going to be a factor for a long time.”

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