After a very strong, if unheralded, rookie season, Kyler Murray has become a trendy breakout candidate for the 2020 season. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks has taken expectations for him to the next level.
Murray threw for 3,722 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season. He also proved that his next-level athleticism at position translates to the pros. Murray ran for 544 yards and four touchdowns on the year.
General manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury are pretty confident in the steps that Murray is taking ahead of 2020. Some believe he’ll be a top fantasy quarterback, given a potential second-year breakout, and his dual-threat ability. For Brooks, the ceiling’s the limit for the former Oklahoma star.
“I know it’s a bit early to make predictions for the upcoming season, but that’s how confident I am that Kyler Murray will win the league’s highest individual honor this year,” Brooks wrote for NFL.com. “The 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year will become the third straight second-year quarterback to take the award, following in the footsteps of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 22, 2020
Compared to the two previous MVPs, Kyler Murray enters his second year with a ton of experience. He played in all 16 games for the team, while Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith as a rookie, and Lamar Jackson didn’t take the Baltimore Ravens’ starting job from Joe Flacco until late in the season.
“That bold statement might take some by surprise, but I’m calling my shot early and jumping on the Murray bandwagon before the Arizona Cardinals go on a worst-to-first run that makes the young QB1 the league’s next great quarterback,” Brooks wrote.
The team adds perhaps the NFL’s best wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, adding him to Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and a solid young receiver in Christian Kirk. The team acquired running back Kenyan Drake, who exploded in the final few weeks last year. The defense should also take a step forward, though there’s still plenty of work to be done on that end.
“The last two MVPs came out of nowhere to claim the award during their sophomore seasons. Each saw their team use the offseason between Years 1 and 2 to tweak (or build) an offense around their unique skill sets while upgrading the surrounding talent,” Brooks says. “With the Cardinals taking a similar approach with Murray, I expect the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year to add some more hardware to his collection at the end of the season.”