Former NFL scout Matt Williamson writes about the league from X’s and O’s and talent evaluation perspectives. This week, he evaluates seven rookie QBs who have played extensively this season.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals (Rd. 1, 1st pick)
Key stats: 3,060 yards passing, 16 TD passes
What I Like: Athleticism
He’s a better runner than every QB in the league except Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson. Murray is fast, elusive and shows great start-stop acceleration and body control. He throws the ball extremely well, especially on the move. It wasn’t long ago that Murray, a first-round pick of the Oakland A’s, was preparing for a baseball career. When looking at it through that lens, his play now is especially impressive. Huge potential.
What I don’t like: Height
There is no longer a huge stigma around short quarterbacks in the NFL. Decision-makers realize players at this position don’t all have to be 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds to succeed. That being said, Murray — who’s listed as 5-foot-10 — and other short quarterbacks still can struggle to see the entire field. That’s true with Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield (6-1) and, yes, even the great Russell Wilson (5-11) and Drew Brees (6-0). Murray often makes up for his lack of height with great feet and by deftly finding throwing lanes and altering his arm angles when passing. But there are still things he simply doesn’t see downfield because of his height.
Where he’s at in five years: Possible Pro Bowler
Arizona’s passing game is far too horizontal — scout’s-speak for not throwing deep enough. Part of that is because the Cardinals’ line stinks. Murray has been sacked more than any quarterback in the NFL this season (46). If Josh Rosen, last year’s Arizona starter as a rookie, played behind this putrid line, the sack total would be much higher.