Kyler Murray is 23 years old in 2020 and born in Texas. His athletic gifts are apparent, and he won the Gatorade football player of the year as a senior in 2014. His team won three straight state championships and 43 games in a row. He only missed one start during the entire streak and had a perfect 42-0 record as a starting quarterback. The kid's a winner.
Even though Murray stood 5'9 "tall and weighed 177 pounds coming out of high school, he was ranked unanimously as a five-star recruit and listed as the best dual-threat quarterback in the class. After his senior season, Murray committed to Texas A&M University to play both college football and baseball.
As a baseball player, Murray was considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 MLB draft. As a shortstop, as well as a second baseman, he was among the first-ever selected for both the Under Armour All-America Baseball game and Under Armour All-America Football game. Elite would be an understatement.
Murray, in 2015, as a true freshman, lost the open competition at QB to start the season to Kyle Allen (played 2019 with Carolina Panthers). After Allen struggled to start the season, Murray took over and started to put up some impressive statistics.
By late December 2015, Murray made a surprising and vital decision, in that he decided to transfer to the University of Oklahoma. As a result, Murray missed the entire 2016 season for both baseball and football. In 2017 Murray would back up Baker Mayfield, and therefore only played sparingly.
Murray's 2018 season was when he started to shine. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns, as well as rushing for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a result of this monster season, he won the Heisman trophy in December 2018.
Not only gifted at football, but Murray could also have easily chosen baseball as a professional career. Murray started for the Sooners in 2017, as a left fielder and struggled. In 2018, he transitioned to centerfield and put up much more respectable numbers, showing a flash of both power and speed.
Before his final year at Oklahoma, The Oakland A’s selected Murray with the 9th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, which included a $4.66M signing bonus. Murray worked out a deal with the Oakland A's, who drafted him, stating that he wanted to play one additional football season, before making his decision on the future of baseball versus football. They obliged.
Well, Murray bet on himself and boy did he win! He not only thrived in his final football season at Oklahoma, but he took it to a whole new level. He won the Heisman Trophy, and then was drafted #1 overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals. Murray went from potentially playing in the minors for the 2018 season to winning the Heisman Trophy, forgoing his senior season, giving back the $4.66M in guaranteed money from the Oakland A's. Woah, talk about bold.
Right away, it was a great offensive schematic match. The cohesion jettisoned 2017 Cardinals' first-round selection, Josh Rosen, to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick.
Murray benefitted in the Kliff Kingsbury "Air Raid" system so perfectly that he would go on to win the rookie of the Year.
By season's end, Murray threw for 3,722 yards for 24 total touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also added 544 yards on the ground, rushing. The 'Air Raid" creates a vertical spread offense to pass every chance the team gets. The RPO is an essential aspect of it, as it allows the quarterback to take off when necessary. The entire package leads to quick-no huddle-tempo.
In 2019 Murray connected on 64.4% of his passes, and his wide receivers are good, but none were WR1 material. Larry Fitzgerald is likely a future Hall of Famer, but on the tail-end of his career, Christian Kirk is young and has potential but hasn't put it together yet, and the rest were rookies. Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. None of these receivers will keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Arizona then shocked the entire NFL and fantasy community when he traded underperforming RB David Johnson and his massive contract for WR DeAndre Hopkins. On a side note, Bill O'Brien, what are you doing? Hopkins’ arrival in Arizona is going to frighten many coordinators and will take this offense to the next level.
The new-look Cardinals will start three wide receivers: Hopkins, Kirk, and Fitzgerald. Good luck to anyone trying to figure out how to corral these guys.
All five starters return in the zone spread scheme. Justin Pugh is the strength of the unit at guard and J.R. Sweezy (guard) and tackle Marcus Gilbert are the veterans. The offense line can protect Murray as they allowed just quick pressure on 18.2% of dropbacks, which finished 6th in the NFL. They also upgraded the highly-ranked OT Josh Jones, stealing him in the 3rd round.
Murray needs to be more aware of where he is in the pocket and make quicker decisions, as he was sacked 23 times in 2019, according to PFF, something he needs to improve on.
There is a lot of upside for Murray this season. He has shown that his skill-set will only improve, and being a dual-threat quarterback will more than likely keep him in the top-10 of quarterbacks as seven of the ten from last season had dual capabilities in the passing game. Murray finished eighth. Now with the addition of Hopkins, feel confident in drafting Murray anywhere from QB3-QB5. His low health risk and massive upside are strong reasons why he should be one of the first quarterbacks off the board.
Murray can attack the numbers when the defense tries to stack the box or take off if the offense spreads out wide.
As a rookie, Murray was able to avoid missing anytime and played all 16 games. He did have a hamstring injury in Week 13. Hamstring injuries notoriously linger and can be reinjured easily, and in Week 16, Murray re-injured his hamstring, leaving the game early, only to end up playing in the final game of the season.
Murray does not seem to be an athlete that will either be prone to injuries or struggle because of them. Murray is athletically gifted, undersized, but impressively strong and resilient.
The fact that he was able to play two sports at a professional high level for several years without missing any games due to injury is awe-inspiring. Murray may be at slightly increased risk due to his playing style and his small size, but overall, he has shown that injuries are not of concern.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Murray has a 29.1% chance of injury in 2020, which translates to a 2.1% chance of injury per game.
I (Dr. Morse) am not concerned with Murray's health or injury risk. While hamstring injuries notoriously resurface, it appears that Murray is at low risk of this, secondary to his impeccable health over the years.
The best indicator of future risk is a past risk, and Murray's is very low. He seems to heal rather quickly, and he continues to excel even though he may not be playing at 100%.
Murray finished as a QB7 last season as a rookie, now with the addition of Hopkins, I'd be surprised for him to finish lower than a QB5.
Injury Risk: Low. 1/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Dec 22, 2019||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||He suffered a hamstring injury on a third-down scamper early in the third quarter. He returned for the next game|
|Sep 5, 2015||Inguinal Hip Strain||Injured left hip and left game immediately after inuring. Returned following week.|