Kyler Murray Shows Promise in Rookie Year, More to Prove Ahead
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray had plenty of individual success in his rookie campaign, but he has more to prove in the years ahead.
Updated: Jan. 21, 2020 • 4:31 PM ET
Kyler Murray could be the future of the Arizona Cardinals franchise.
Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray only needed a season to establish himself as a formidable quarterback in the NFL. Despite Arizona’s lackluster 5-10-1 record this season, Murray may have reaffirmed general manager Steve Keim and the organization’s decision to take a chance on the 5-foot-10 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma.
Helping in reassuring the Cardinals front office of their decision to select Murray No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft is that the team had the most improved offense in the league in 2019; although, that isn’t saying much considering the absolute disaster that was their 2018 offensive campaign. The Cardinals offense totaled 1,602 more yards in 2019 than 2018 and went from averaging 14.1 points per game to 22.6 points per outing.
Playing all 16 games this season, Murray certainly brought something to the desert that had been missing the last handful of seasons: hope. In his first season as the Cards signal-caller, Murray broke numerous franchise rookie records, while also setting an NFL record for most consecutive attempts by a rookie without an interception (211). But despite Murray’s promising first season (3,722 passing yards, 544 rushing yards, 24 total touchdowns, 12 interceptions), the Cardinals have a lot of work to do before they can be considered as contenders in arguably the strongest division in football.
Fans of Big Red, however, should still be excited, as Murray had an outstanding rookie season, while also playing his way into Offensive Rookie of the Year candidacy. And although he should finish near or at the top of voting for that award this season, it can’t be etched in stone that Murray is already the franchise quarterback moving forward.
Sure, Murray had a phenomenal rookie season without overwhelming talent around him and a defense ranked last in the league in yards allowed, but it’s difficult to forget that the franchise had already drafted a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback with a lot of promise in the last 15 years. Memories of Matt Leinart should still be fresh in all Cardinals fans’ minds.
You Might Also Like
More recently, another Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from the same school Murray attended collegiately, former Sooner Baker Mayfield, stunned the NFL a season ago and gave Browns fans unbridled hope heading into 2019.
And although dual-threat quarterbacks seem to be en vogue, several selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in the past decade have shown promise but didn’t pan out, including Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel, EJ Manuel, Robert Griffin III and Jake Locker.
Of course, Murray is no Leinart, Manziel, Manuel, Griffin, Locker, Mariota nor Mayfield. They are and were completely different quarterbacks in completely different systems. Murray is his own person and player, but it’s imperative that fans remember, one season does not a franchise quarterback make.
This isn’t to say that Murray can’t or won’t be the Cardinals’ quarterback of the future. He showed signs of brilliance this season, and all signs point to him being “the guy.”
Playing in a system favorable to his skills, hopefully Murray will become the franchise quarterback Cardinals fans have longed for.