Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray falls from ‘overrated’ to severely underrated

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before playing against the Philadelphia
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before playing against the Philadelphia / Michael Chow/The Republic via Imagn

We have more than a few reasons to believe Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is overrated. But he’s also better than his latest CBS Sports ranking.

Yesterday, Will Brinson of CBS Sports ranked all 32 projected starters by tiers - from Tier 1 to Tier 7, with the latter tier reserved for rookie quarterbacks Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson. Tier 6 comprised some of the NFL’s worst projected starters coming into the season, including names like Sam Howell, Baker Mayfield, Jordan Love, and Desmond Ridder.  Yeah, so at this point, I'm taking back my entire "Kyler is overrated" stance.

In other words, these are quarterbacks who are probably on their last respective chances of showing that they can play in the NFL, sans Love, who enters his first season as a starter. But one more quarterback saw themselves in Tier 6 - Kyler Murray. 

Listen, Kyler Murray hasn’t been the most mature quarterback over his first four seasons in the league. The 5’10, 207 lb passer had one good season at Oklahoma and shouldn’t have gone number one overall in 2019. But then again, Steve Keim loved glamor, so it’s easy to understand why he gave up on Josh Rosen after just one season. 

Murray doesn’t have a winning record, and I’ve said this so many times but it needs to be repeated: He never won in the playoffs, and he’s yet to win the division. However, to say he’s down there with the likes of Sam Howell, Jordan Love, and Desmond Ridder is nothing short of repulsive. 

Arizona Cardinals quarterback is better than his Tier 6 ranking

In 2022, Murray sputtered through the worst season of his career, and his 2022 campaign ended in the worst possible way, with a torn ACL. But to his credit, he also spent four seasons playing for a coach who never should have worn a headset on an NFL sideline. 

Despite Kliff Kingsbury’s subpar tenure, Murray still put together two Pro Bowl seasons and he also won Offensive Rookie of the Year. He’s also had several games when he’s completely taken over and won in the most improbable ways, like Week 2 last season against the Las Vegas Raiders

Has Sam Howell done that? Desmond Ridder? Didn’t Baker Mayfield once nearly lose a playoff game after the Pittsburgh Steelers gave him and his Cleveland Browns a 28-0 lead in a single quarter? Mayfield has a playoff win and Murray doesn’t, but that’s about all the former number one overall pick has going for him over Murray. Okay, that, and the time he temporarily held the record for most touchdown passes by a rookie. 

But how do you rank Murray under Mac Jones, whose career as a starting quarterback could already be in jeopardy after just two seasons? Or Kenny Pickett, who was so-so at best last season?

At worst, Murray is a Tier 5 quarterback, and at best, he’s Tier 4, where guys like Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo, guys at career crossroads, reside. And that’s where Murray is in his career: at crossroads. 

No, Murray isn’t a top ten quarterback and he’s probably somewhere closer to 20th at the moment. But at this point, it’s like everyone’s forgotten just how electrifying Murray can be at times. 

And given his actions so far since tearing his ACL, he’s taken more than a few steps toward redemption. If that continues upon his eventual return, then Murray is going to climb the ladder quickly. 


Source: 2023 NFL quarterback rankings by tiers: Trevor Lawrence, Jalen Hurts not quite in elite category but close by Will Brinson,

(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)