Two years ago, the front office of the Arizona Cardinals went all in a signal-caller. With the NFL Draft’s first-overall selection, Steve Keim and company took Kyler Murray, a player who new head coach Kliff Kingsbury apparently had to have. Now that we have two full seasons of Murray to formulate an opinion on, does it appear that the youngster has what it takes to bring a Super Bowl Championship to the Cardinals?
History would tell you that the odds of Murray ever hoisting a Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head are slim. Although the 23-year old would argue against it, it would not be unfair to classify the Texas native as a running quarterback. It’s difficult to disagree with that description when a “passer” amasses 819 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground during a 16-game campaign, as Murray did for the Cards in 2020.
In all honesty, Murray is not nearly as dynamic when an opposing defense limits his rushing numbers. The former University of Oklahoma product seemed to be running a lot less after he suffered a shoulder injury during a week 11 loss to the Seattle Seahawks this past fall. Coincidentally, Arizona’s scoring attack was a lot less effective when Murray elected to remain in the pocket, as opposed to taking off and accumulating significant chunks of yardage with his legs.
Murray’s lack of size (5’10, 207) will likely prohibit him from ever finding greatness as a pure “pocket” passer. In fact, only one quarterback in NFL history who’s under six feet tall has won a Super Bowl title. That occurred on February 2nd, 2014, when Russell Wilson (5’11) led the Seahawks to a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.
The two most successful signal-callers that the Cards have ever employed were 6’2 or better, and did virtually all of their damage to the opposition from the pocket. Kurt Warner totaled 15,843 yards and 100 touchdowns passing for Big Red, and almost delivered a Super Bowl championship to the organization back in 2008. Carson Palmer threw for 16,782 yards and 105 touchdowns while with the Redbirds, and led the franchise to the NFC Championship game in 2015.
It’s quite possible that the Cardinals are simply spinning their wheels with Murray. It’s a proven fact that vertically challenged signal-callers do not win championships at the NFL level. Perhaps Murray is the exception to that rule, but there’s also a very good possibility that he’s not.