Heading into 2019, the questions surrounding Kyler Murray included whether he would play football or baseball on the professional level.
Murray said he was committed to football, which shifted the main question marks about him to his height and whether he was big enough to stand up to the rigors of playing quarterback in the NFL. The Cardinals weren’t put off by those concerns and made Murray the first overall pick in the draft.
The decision worked out well for them.
Murray threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 64.4 percent of his passes and making all 16 starts during his rookie season. Murray also ran for 544 yards and four touchdowns to become the second rookie to throw for at least 3,500 yards while running for at least 500 yards. Many of those yards came on designed runs as Murray showed a willingness to stay in the pocket that was also among the questions about him heading into the season.
Murray will need to throw downfield more in the years to come as he ranks near the bottom of the league in air yards per attempt in an offense that prized short throws, but he answered many of the questions that accompanied him from Oklahoma to the NFL.
All in all, Murray’s production in Arizona has led PFT to name him our offensive rookie of the year for 2019.
Murray was not the only strong contender for the prize. Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown finished second in the league in yards per catch and gained 778 receiving yards and scored six touchdowns once the team moved to Ryan Tannehill at quarterback after a 2-4 start to the year.
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs missed three of the final four games of the year with a shoulder injury, but still ran for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in his first NFL season. Eagles running back Miles Sanders came on strong at the end of the year to help his team win the NFC East and picked up over 1,300 yards from scrimmage.
All are worthy of great praise for their efforts this season, but Murray is our choice for the top offensive rookie.