ESPN poll of execs, coaches, scouts and players ranks Kyler Murray outside top 10 QBs
Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray enters his fourth season with high expectations after leading the Cardinals to their first playoff appearance since 2015.
Despite throwing for 3,787 yards and accounting for 29 total touchdowns in 14 games, a poll by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler of league executives, coaches, scouts and players ranked Murray outside the 10 best NFL quarterbacks.
The voting was handled by surveying more than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help them stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from edge rusher to interior offensive lineman.
Murray enters the list in the “honorable mention” category along with Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr.
Murray befuddles voters with his mix of brilliance and inconsistency. He has improved his accuracy in each of his three pro years (69.2% completion percentage in 2021), and he led Arizona to the playoffs last year. But the Cardinals have faded in December and January the past two seasons, and one AFC official said Murray looked “totally unprepared” in a two-interception playoff game against the Rams.
Still, Murray was seventh in QBR (57.3) last season, and his 3.9% completion percentage over expectation was second best in the NFL. He also delivered on third downs, with 11 touchdowns to two interceptions, including 17 completions that picked up 20-plus yards.
While Murray plays exceptionally well in September, October and November, there is a major drop-off in December and January.
Murray missed three games last year with a left ankle sprain. He played all 16 games the previous two seasons but dealt with hamstring, shoulder and leg injuries.
In the month of December last year, Murray put up a season worst quarterback rating of 83.4 and a 62.8 completion percentage.
Murray’s passing statistics were also limited in December as he threw for just four touchdowns to three interceptions.
He struggled mightily in his first playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
Murray was limited to 19-of-34 passing for 134 yards, including a quarterback rating of 40.9 in the Cardinals’ 34-11 loss to the Rams in the NFC Wild Card round.
“If you can keep him in the pocket, he becomes very average,” an anonymous executive told Fowler. “Has a hard time throwing over the middle. Backyard ball. He’s just always been better than everybody else, but that catches up to you in the NFL.”
With wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins set to miss the teams first six games of the season due to violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, Murray and company will look to weather the storm and keep pace in a competitive NFC West.