Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is a walking, running, throwing, overall playmaking contradiction.
If you look at him without the helmet on, Kyler Murray looks like he should still be in college, competing for the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the Orange Bowl instead of vying for NFL Most Valuable Player and a potential Super Bowl run.
When you watch him play the game and can't see his youthful face, Kyler Murray operates like an NFL veteran with at least a half-decade of tenure under his belt. His poise under pressure and ability to read defenses is that of an experienced, well-established quarterback.
The truth is that Kyler Murray is only 23 years old, and this is only his second NFL season. Last season's AP Offensive Rookie of the Year is this season's league MVP contender.
Kyler Murray is having a breakout season in just his second season
In 10 games this season, Murray has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 2,644 yards. He's thrown 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He's rushed for 619 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Murray ranks sixth in the NFL in passing yards and eighth in rushing yards -- which includes running backs. Murray is the top rusher among quarterbacks, drawing comparisons to Lamar Jackson last season when the Baltimore Ravens QB tore up opposing defenses through the air and on the ground on his way to winning MVP in a unanimous vote.
The Cardinals are 6-4 following a loss to their NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks on "Thursday Night Football" in Week 11. Kyler Murray has been credited with comeback victories in three of Arizona's six wins -- including Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills when he connected with star receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a "Hail Mary" touchdown in the final seconds that is a front-runner for NFL play of the year in 2020.
Kyler Murray doesn't carry himself like a second-year starting quarterback. He commands respect in the Cardinals' huddle, although he doesn't have to be the vocal leader on a team that has veteran future Hall of Famers like 37-year-old receiver Larry Fitzgerald and 30-year-old cornerback Patrick Peterson.
While he is far from flawless, Murray does generally make good decisions in the pocket and tends to make the right call on when to throw the ball or when to use his elite running ability to pick up yards on the ground.
The Cardinals haven't been to the postseason since the 2015 season, and had gotten bad enough to earn the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2019, when they selected Murray after his Heisman-winning campaign at the University of Oklahoma.
With six games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Kyler Murray still has work to do to get Arizona into the playoffs in just his second season in the NFL. At the rate he's improving, he'll be playing like a 10-year veteran by the time the Cardinals make their return to the playoffs.Published 21 Nov 2020, 01:44 IST