3 reasons the Arizona Cardinals never should have drafted Murray
By Sion Fawkes
Kyler Murray was the Arizona Cardinals first overall pick in 2019, and it’s getting safe to say general manager Steve Keim whiffed on another quarterback.
Case in point, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray never should have been the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sure, he won Rookie of the Year honors and went to two Pro Bowls, so he’s got some popularity contest wins under his belt.
But all season long, or in his career, really, he has been injury-prone, failed to grasp a wobbly Cardinals team when they needed to be elevated, pointed fingers, had a short-lived contract clause that gave fans the right to question his work ethic, and has yet to lead his team to a division title or a playoff win. Not a good resume for the 25-year-old.
And worse, Murray regressed in Year 4 when the Cardinals even traded for his former teammate, Marquise Brown. Down in Miami, Tua Tagovailoa has Jalen Waddle. Joe Burrow has Jamaar Chase. Both have played exceedingly well over the last two seasons, with Tagovailoa enjoying a breakout campaign this year while Burrow led the Bengals to the Super Bowl last season.
Even with Brown and now DeAndre Hopkins present, Murray still found ways to underachieve. And if general manager Steve Keim did his homework, he never would have drafted one of the most overrated prospects since Mitchell Trubisky entered the draft two seasons prior.
But Keim didn’t do his homework, and he reached for Murray. Something he should be regretting. The reasoning? Keep reading to find out.
1 – Never fit for the “Air Raid” offense
Want to know how many times Murray threw the ball per game during his only season at Oklahoma? 27 times per game. Not exactly sound material for head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s “Air Raid” offense.
Murray has the ability to be a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, perhaps in a system akin to John Harbaugh’s in Baltimore, which turned quarterback Lamar Jackson into a star. But if a quarterback is fit for one system in college and they get drafted into another, at best, they will underachieve. And this is what we have seen from Murray stagnating his way through the “Air Raid.”
2 – One-Year Wonder
Very, very few one-year wonders play quarterback and succeed at the position in the NFL. The only one I can really name off the top of my head is Joe Burrow, and he broke just about every record in the book during his legendary 2019 season.
Others, like Akili Smith, Mark Sanchez, and Mitchell Trubisky flamed out in the NFL. And still others with only two full seasons of experience starting at quarterback in college, like Sam Darnold, also didn’t make it.
It’s appropriate to attach one-year wonder status to Murray because before his breakout 2018 campaign, he had thrown exactly 142 passes in three collegiate seasons, throwing for 8 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and 1,045 yards. Break those numbers down, and you get 47 pass attempts, 2.66 touchdowns, 2.33 picks, and 348 passing yards per season.
So to take a guy who enjoyed just one good season at number one overall is a risk and a half. And so far, it’s been mixed results at best for the Cardinals. At least in terms of consistency and winning football games.
3 – 29 Games of College Football Experience
Which brings me to my third point, Murray’s 29 total games of college football experience. Do the math, and that equates to just over two seasons, and even fewer as a starter; another major risk factor.
Once again, quarterbacks who haven’t enjoyed an extended period of experience in the NCAA tend to be busts. Another quarterback who, despite their 5-1 record at the moment, has yet to stand out is Zach Wilson, who has just one more game of college football experience than Murray.
You can bet that Wilson’s success in the City That Never Sleeps will as short-lived as Murray’s. And that reality will hit both quarterbacks with limited college experience who enjoyed just one good season at their respective helms sooner than later.
The next time the Arizona Cardinals pick a quarterback, let’s hope it’s someone better suited for the “Air Raid” offense, assuming Kingsbury is still on the sidelines. Ideally, the Arizona Cardinals will also find someone who has seen sustained collegiate success, and someone who has played between 35-40 games.
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