Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray climbs in NFL quarterback rankings: 'Huge step forward'

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
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There were a lot of questions surrounding Kyler Murray in NFL quarterback rankings entering the 2020 season.

While there is room for improvement, the Arizona Cardinals quarterback answered many of those questions during the season.

In their final NFL quarterback rankings for the season, NFL writers have Murray, who just completed his second season in the NFL, ranked as high as No. 9 in the league.

Not too bad for a quarterback who entered the league ranked among the lowest at his position.

Check out what NFL writers are saying about Murray after his second season in the league compared to their thoughts on the quarterback entering the season.

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Sportsnaut: Kyler Murray ranked No. 9

Andrew Buller-Russ writes: "The little man that can do so much on the football field, Kyler Murray, along with Drew Brees, has shown that height should not matter when evaluating quarterbacks as prospects. Despite a very frustrating end to the season, Murray took a huge step forward in year two. From the No. 1 pick in 2019 to narrowly missing the playoffs two years later, look for K1 and the Cardinals to get even better in 2021."

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) warms up before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles Dec. 20, 2020.

Pro Football Network: Kyler Murray ranked No. 11

Shane G. Tyler writes: "What began as an MVP campaign for Kyler Murray unceremoniously ended in utter disappointment. Not only did the Arizona Cardinals fail to win Week 17’s game against backup quarterback John Wolford, but the second-year signal-caller succumbed to injury, yet again. In 2020, Murray bested nearly every measurable from his rookie season, but injuries hindered him from accomplishing greater feats. One thing’s clear, without a healthy and effective Murray under center, the Arizona Cardinals season crumbled. If not for Murray’s disaster final month of the season, he would rank much higher in the 2020 QB power rankings." Kyler Murray tied for No. 9 in rankings

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Pro Football Focus: Kyler Murray ranked No. 11

It writes: "Murray took great strides in his second season, improving his passing grade by 16 points and becoming one of the most dynamic rushing threats in the league. He earned the No. 9 passing grade on deep passes while ranking second in rushing yards (822) and touchdowns (11) among quarterbacks. The next step is improving at the intermediate (10-19 yard) level, where Murray’s passing grade ranked just 27th."

Fansided: Kyler Murray ranked No. 11

Matt Verderame writes: "Murray had to play better against the 49ers. Yes, San Francisco has a tough defense, but Arizona has ample weapons and Murray did virtually nothing in a must-win game. Going for 247 passing yards on 50 attempts with only three completions of 10+ air yards isn’t getting it done. Not even close."

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Where Murray was ranked in the preseason

Murray's end-of-season ranking is an improvement from where several sites had the Cardinals quarterback entering the season.

Here's what some NFL writers were saying about him before the 2020 season began: Kyler Murray ranked No. 13

Tom Blair wrote:  "It's actually kind of encouraging that Murray didn't just cruise to the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Maybe going through some bumps in 2019 (including seven games with a sub-80 passer rating) helped prepare him for when the difficulty level ramps up -- along with the stakes -- in 2020."

Fansided: Kyler Murray ranked No. 19

Samuel Teets wrote: "As a rookie, Murray completed a respectable 64.4 percent of his pass attempts while throwing 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His numbers are uninspiring at a glance, but he should take a giant step forward in Year 2 now that DeAndre Hopkins is a Cardinal. Murray established a solid foundation as a rookie, but he didn’t flash as much potential as expected. We’ll see if the Oklahoma product can make a larger impact on the gridiron this coming season."

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NBC Sports: Kyler Murray ranked No. 17

Dave Zangaro wrote: "The Offensive Rookie of the Year had an electric first NFL season. He threw for over 3,700 yards and ran for another 544. He’s a fun player to watch and after seeing Lamar Jackson’s jump from Year 1 to Year 2, it’ll be exciting to see what happens with Murray in 2020."

Dallas News: Kyler Murray ranked No. 14

John Owning wrote: "Although his team didn’t see a ton of success, Kyler Murray’s individual rookie season was certainly a success, one he capped with the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He had his low points, but Murray’s arm talent and legs make him a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He will need to do a better job of avoiding sacks and turnover-worthy plays in the future, but if Arizona can provide a better supporting cast, Murray could creep closer to the top 10 sooner than later."

NFL Top 100: Kyler Murray ranked No. 13

NFL players ranked Murray No. 90 overall and No. 13 among quarterbacks in the NFL Top 100 player rankings before the season. He was the last quarterback to make the list. “The next Russell Wilson,” New Orleans Saints star Cameron Jordan said of Murray. “He’s a pure baller.”

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