Byron Murphy Jr. wouldn’t be helping Arizona Cardinals struggling pass defense

One of the more puzzling moves the Arizona Cardinals made back in March was letting cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. walk, but that’s no longer the case.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages
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Per PFF, Marco Wilson and Kei’Trel Clark have been among the worst cornerbacks in football this season. Wilson is boasting a meager grade of 44.8, which ranks 101st in the NFL, while Clark sits at 47.4, and ranks 97th. It’s clear the Arizona Cardinals need help at cornerback, and you may be thinking why they didn’t make more of an effort to keep Byron Murphy Jr.

Currently, PFF doesn’t have Murphy ranked much higher, as his 50.3 grade sits 91st in the league. While he snagged a pick, that’s about all Murphy has going for him one-third of the way through 2023, as he’s also allowed 11.4 yards per reception, and a 113.3 quarterback rating. 

Murphy has 28 total tackles and seven stops, but he also has eight missed tackles this season, giving him a missed tackle percentage of 28.5 percent when you do the math. Clearly, Murphy has faced some serious issues in Minnesota, and given the current state of the Cardinals, he likely wouldn’t fare much better in the desert.

Byron Murphy Jr. would be struggling with the rest of the Arizona Cardinals

Looking back at Murray’s past PFF grades, his coverage grade was never higher than 64.7, showing us that, at best, the fifth-year cornerback was solid, but unspectacular. He was rarely a game-changer in the desert, despite making the occasional splash play. 

Would he have been the CB1 in 2023 had he stayed in Arizona? Probably, but it wouldn’t have changed the result, judging from the year Murphy is having in Minnesota. 

Earlier today, I wrote about how it seems like the current regime in the desert looks to be slowly, but steadily getting rid of the Keim guys. Murphy was one of them, and since the Arizona Cardinals never saw much success under Keim following the 2015 season, most of these guys, Murphy included, deserve to be gone. 

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(Statistics and grades provided by PFF [subscription]}