Arizona Cardinals: Weighing Pros and Cons of drafting Kyler Murray


Should the Cardinals draft the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner? Let’s debate.

When you win the Heisman Trophy, people pay attention. Kyler Murray was no exception when he took the prestigious accolade in his 2018 college season, and the rumor mill surrounding buzz of him being the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft has been in full force ever since.

What really fired up the rumors was comments from former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury saying if he had the number one pick he’d take Murray.

Now the new Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals Kingsbury has that top pick.

It is entirely possible that the Cardinals draft Murray first overall, though that wouldn’t be an easy decision to make.

There are plenty of reasons the Cardinals should draft Murray, some of which include his insane arm strength and his dual-threat ability.


However, there are some downsides to this seemingly perfect match. Let’s play a little devil’s advocate here and look at both sides of this hypothetical scenario.


1. Kingsbury Connection

When Kliff Kingsbury took over as Head Coach of the Cardinals, the twitter verse was quick to point out a comment he made on video back in October of 2018:

Now, Kingsbury has that chance.


The two have had a long time connection dating back to Murray’s high school days when Kingsbury recruited him as a Sophomore.

Since then, Kingsbury has had nothing but praise for Murray as a player and person. The kind of mutual admiration and respect that the two have for each other is the foundation of a winning formula and is the stuff that teams brass dream of.


There is no doubt that an under Kingsbury’s leadership, Murray could excel. Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense, which he ran in Texas, is ideally suited to Murray’s preferred style; quick passes out of the shotgun. By playing to Murray’s strengths, the Cardinals could see significant improvement on offense.

2. Arm Strength

Murray had a stellar 2018 season at Oklahoma, passing for 4361 yards with a 69% completion rate and an average of 11.6 yards per completion. If there’s one thing Murray can do, it’s throw the ball.

The gunslinger has the ability to make any throw look easy.

Whether it’s a 50-yard hail marry or a seven-yard rocket between the numbers down the middle of the field, it looks effortless when Murray executes. His arm strength is one of his best qualities, which would undoubtedly open up the play selection a bit more.

3. Dual-Threat Ability

In 2018, Murray had rushing stats better than some NFL running backs. He ran 140 times for a total of 1001 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.

Putting that into perspective, Latavius Murray, former Vikings RB, ran 140 times for 578 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2018.

Yes they hold different positions and one is in College and the other in the NFL, but those stats are admirable regardless of the circumstances.

To illustrate how significant Murray’s abilities on his feet are, take a look at Rosen’s last college season in 2017. Rosen rushed 50 times for -97 yards and was sacked 26 times.

Murray was sacked 18. The ability to play outside the pocket and extend plays generally translates to less sacks and a better offense. Murray ticks all those boxes and is an apparent upgrade from Rosen.

Even though Kingsbury’s preferred offensive style favors passing over rushing, being able to extend plays using his feet would be one tremendous advantage for the Cardinals should they draft Murray.


1. Dead money

Though there is plenty of glimmer around drafting Murray, it would come at a price for the Cardinals, and that price is approximately $8 million according to Over the cap. If the team stuck with Rosen, they’d be out $4 million in 2019, but trading him before June 1st doubles that figure and creates dead money against the 2019 cap.

The question is then, would the value added in future years by drafting Murray make up for the dead money hit on the cap in 2019. The Cardinal front office and brass have some hefty decisions to make over the next five weeks and this will absolutely play into the process.

2. Loss of Value

In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Cardinals traded their pick at 15 in the first round, along with a third and fifth round pick to the Oakland Raiders, in order to move up to the 10th overall pick. They then used that pick to draft Josh Rosen.

When you consider the inherent value they gave up to get Rosen, it’s hard to imagine the team will be eager to move on from him. The loss of value would be hard to bear. To add insult to injury, Rosen’s signing bonus of just over $10 million has already been fully paid by the Cardinals, so the overall money invested in obtaining Rosen is considerable.

3. Inconsistent Mechanics

Although Murray has an incredible skill set, he’s after all only human and does have plenty of room to grow. One of the most common things pointed out that he could improve on is some of the mechanics of the game. Most notably, his footwork, pocket movement and ball release.

Murray is a great runner, but at times when playing for the Sooners he’s run at the first sniff of a defender and that’s a problem. Think Ravens’ Lamar Jackson-esque. He needs to keep patience in the pocket in order to succeed.

He also has inconsistent footwork in the pocket leading to times of off-balance resulting in inaccurate throws. His release mechanics are often great, but almost just as often awkward. Somehow, despite these growth points, he makes it work. If he worked on these mechanics, it’s easy to imagine him leading the new QB revolution alongside ex-teammate Baker Mayfield.


Overall, the expected output and added value that drafting Kyler Murray should bring to the Cardinals, would likely outweigh the value loss in trading Josh Rosen.

When comparing their final college season stats, Murray outperforms Rosen in every stat besides total attempts and completions. There is a strong case for the notion that Murray is indeed an upgrade on Rosen, and with these things in mind, there is a real chance that Kingsbury goes with his gut and looks for a new signal caller in Murray this April.


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