It is widely known that before draft night in 2019, when Kyler Murray was selected first overall by the Arizona Cardinals, he was constantly connected to one NFL player.
That player is the Denver Broncos newly acquired Super Bowl champion quarterback, Russell Wilson. It is easy for one to agree or disagree with these assertions, but you cannot deny the physical build between the two, spawning most comparisons from the start.
Murray and Wilson both teeter close to the 6-foot height mark. They both weigh in between 210, and 215 pounds, considered by many as undersized for their position. Though when pressure builds, they are both known to scramble.
On top of this, they were both drafted into Major League Baseball, and are known to have cannons for an arm, especially for their size. This still is not enough to convince many, but it is important to note how these rumors first came to light.
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Murray’s Production Fell Off Late in 2021
The Murray-Wilson comparisons really took off during the NFL Combine in 2019. During the measurement phase, Murray weighed in a few pounds ahead, and only half an inch shorter than Wilson. Even after leading the Oklahoma Sooners to the College Football Playoff, and winning a Heisman did these measurements indicate to pro scouts that he may be just fine in the National Football League.
After all, Wilson, Murray’s physical comparison, has been a top-10 quarterback and made it to two consecutive Super Bowls early in his career.
So far Murray has had an impactful first three seasons with the Cardinals, outpacing Wilson in yards, completions, and completion percentage in the same span. Where Murray does fall short though, is in touchdowns, interceptions and quarterback rating (QBR). For whatever reason, he has more work to do, and will still likely improve statistically.
After starting the past season with 10 wins, and two losses at the beginning of December, the team would go on to lose the last five out of six games they would play. This included the forgettable NFC Wild Card beatdown to the hands of the eventual world champion, the Los Angeles Rams.
In the last six games of 2021, Murray only passed for five touchdowns but threw just as many interceptions. Although his yardage and QBR were not down too far from the beginning stretch of the season where he looked like a potential MVP candidate, it was enough to make a difference.
Cardinals & Murray Still Need to Reach Contract Extension
Regardless of inequities or downfalls on the defensive side of the ball for Arizona, Murray must learn to become a leader like Wilson and step up in the big moments. Wilson was never the best player on the field but was able to accomplish his goals when needed, minus a few hiccups, one being in the Super Bowl.
Although it could deem to be irrelevant, Wilson’s fourth season saw a sizable increase in passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, touchdowns, and his QBR. With a similar performance, Murray would not just have the best season of his career thus far, but also elevate his team to a potentially deep playoff run.
In an already stacked division, it will take a lot for the Cardinals to win the NFC West, but with a historic year from Murray, it could become what many expected to happen during the Cardinals’ first half of the season in 2021.
Realistically, this would all be for not if the Cardinals can not secure Murray with a contract extension of his liking. It would surely be a disappointment to see a stellar talent like Murray miss the upcoming season because Arizona did not do everything they could to make sure he was under center for the 2022 season.