Several sites have released NFL quarterback rankings ahead of the 2021 season and we were curious to see what kind of leap Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray might have made entering his third season in the league.
He didn’t make much of one in one site’s ranking.
Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks in the league for the upcoming season and it placed Murray in the bottom half of the NFL at the position, No. 17 overall.
Bruce Gradkowski wrote: “Murray took a nice step forward in Year 2, raising his passing grade by over 16 points and adding 822 yards on the ground. The Cardinals did well to utilize his skill set, as his rushing stats were a mix of designed quarterback runs and scrambles. With the NFC West being as competitive as ever, Arizona continues to do a good job building around Murray. However, the signal-caller has to show more development in the intermediate passing (10-19 yards) game, where he ranked 24th while in rhythm. It’s an area where he can raise his level of play and make the players around him better.”
Murray was between Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger and Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow in the ranking. The Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert (No. 15) and the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins (No. 14) were some of the others ahead of him on Pro Football Focus’ list.
The Cardinals QB was third among NFC West quarterbacks in the ranking. Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks came in at No. 4 and Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams was No. 11.
The San Francisco 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo was No. 22.
Murray went up just two spots in PFF.com’s ranking from a year ago when the site had him at No. 19 among starting NFL quarterbacks.
Sam Monson wrote of Murray at the time: “The hype surrounding Kyler Murray is rapidly outpacing what we have seen on the field from him. The highs are spectacular, and there is a clear reason for optimism, but his rookie season also featured a lot of bad that isn’t a lock to disappear overnight. Murray was responsible for 23 of the sacks the Cardinals allowed on offense — five more than any other quarterback in 2019 and the highest figure PFF has ever charged to a passer. What we expect from Murray is extremely exciting, but his former teammate Baker Mayfield is a reminder that we should tread lightly before getting too carried away with a player after a strong rookie showing.”
More NFL QB rankings for Kyler Murray
Other sites also weighed in on Murray and his development in their early 2021 NFL quarterback rankings.
USA TODAY Sports ranked each NFL team by outlook at quarterback and it had the Cardinals with nine other teams in an “ascending” category (17 other teams were placed in “elite” “very good” or “solid” tiers ahead of Murray’s group.)
Mike Jones wrote: “Kyler Murray took a step forward and made some big-time plays last year, but once banged up, he struggled with consistency. Kliff Kingsbury must figure out how to better protect his quarterback. If the coach is successful, Murray should experience more growth.”
NBC Sports put Murray at No. 10 on its list of all 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.
Dylan Mickanen wrote: “Murray had an up-and-down season in 2020 and are we sure Kliff Kingsbury is a good head coach? This roster with Murray healthy for almost the whole season should have finished better than 8-8.”
Sportsnaut’s Andrew Buller-Russ was even higher on Murray, putting him at No. 9 among NFL QBs.
He wrote: “Paired with an offensive guru for a head coach in Kliff Kingsbury, the sky is the limit for Kyler Murray. After adding five Pro Bowl players this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals are all in on a playoff push in 2021. Despite never missing a start, K1 battled injuries last season and still went 8-8. Entering his third year, expect Murray and the Cardinals to be a tough out in the NFC West.”
CBS Sports placed Murray in Tier 3 of its NFL QB tiers list (13 quarterbacks made either Tier 1 or Tier 2).
Jason La Canfora wrote: “Kyler Murray’s first half of the season had him on a path to MVP consideration and a move to Tier 1, but major questions remain about Kliff’s Killer offense in AZ. Far too often opposing scouts and coordinators would tell me their ability to move the ball came down to Murray going off script and improvising, and everyone on that coaching staff and front office should be feeling the heat if this team once again fails to take a meaningful step to the playoffs. Running around for first downs will only take you so far.”
Where would you rank the Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray among NFL quarterbacks right now?