All eyes are on Kyler Murray heading into his rookie campaign. The Arizona Cardinals selected Murray with the first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft last month.
In order to clear room for Murray as the starter, the Cardinals traded Josh Rosen, whom they chose in the first round a year ago.
Obviously, Arizona is committing to Murray as its quarterback of the future, a polarizing decision given the worries about whether Murray’s game will translate to the NFL.
So, will Murray go the way of Baker Mayfield and have a terrific rookie season, or will he struggle just as much as Rosen did in 2018?
Let’s say this: The odds are certainly stacked against him in his first year in the league, because he is playing on a truly terrible team.
The Cardinals won just three games this past season and had, by far, the worst offense in the NFL. They have a horrible offensive line, an incredibly thin receiver corps and, thanks mostly in part to the line being so bad, a meager running game.
With this roster, it’s hard to imagine Murray being a legitimate fantasy threat in his rookie season, and that is no slight to Murray. He is simply in a terrible situation at the moment.
To be fair, it’s entirely possible that one of Arizona’s rookie wideouts will emerge as a serious target. After all, the Cardinals took three: Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson.
Also, second-year receiver Christian Kirk showed some promise in his rookie season.
Yet, with Larry Fitzgerald a shell of his former self and the Cards lacking any true No. 1 threats to compensate for the growth of the young guys, can we really expect any of these neophyte receivers to have a big season?
Defenses are going to be able to zero in on the run game, as they will surely stack the box to prevent Murray and David Johnson from seeing an open field.
In doing so, opponents will dare Murray to beat them with his arm, and he does not have the protection nor the weapons to do that regularly.
Murray’s potential is tantalizing, because he is an athletic freak who was also incredibly productive as a passer this past year. Some feel he is an even more mobile version of Russell Wilson. Some even compare him to Mayfield, with whom he played at Oklahoma.
But even if Murray has the ability to develop into one of those two guys (or better), it’s going to be very difficult for him to show it with this current Cardinals roster, which is, make no mistake about it, dreadful.
You can like Murray all you want, but expecting him to have a big year in fantasy football is asking for a whole lot. It is just not very prudent.
It’s entirely possible that Murray will not even throw for 3,000 yards in his first season, and with the complete lack of talent on Arizona’s offense, it would be hard to blame him.
Avoid Murray in 2019 and start thinking of him for 2020 if the Cardinals can add some pieces, or if some of his young receivers look impressive.