The Cardinals made Kyler Murray the top pick in the 2019 NFL draft, and they threw him right into the fire by making him the starting quarterback in Week 1 last season. Given that, Murray knows what it is like to be a high draft pick with high expectations that your team expects you to live up to.
With Murray having experienced all of that in the last year, he is the perfect person to give advice to this year’s draft class — and that’s exactly just ahead of the draft. Here’s the advice that Murray gave to this year’s draftees.
Kyler Murray’s advice to this year’s draft class
Murray penned a piece for The Players’ Tribune titled “To the 2020 Draft Class” in which he described his preparations for last year’s draft before giving his advice to the players taken in this year’s draft. In the column, Murray warned the players that “this next year is going to be a blur” for them — and admitted it’s still a blur for him — and then offered what he called “two small pieces of advice.”
The first piece of advice Murray gave the rookies was that they are going to get hit harder than they ever have, making this is the longest year of their football careers.
The second piece of advice Murray gave was “your whole life is about to change. But don’t you go changing with it.” He went on to explain that the players who are able to stick around and have long careers in the league have one thing in common — “they have a purpose that’s bigger than themselves.”
Murray advised them to stand for something besides football and to give back to their communities. He ended the piece by reminding the players that they have received a gift of a “platform to make a difference in the world. That’s the blessing” of playing in the NFL.
Kyler Murray’s rookie season
The Cardinals went just 5-10-1 last season, but Murray played well considering it was his first season in the league. He completed more than 64% of his passes for 3,722 yards and 20 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions.
Murray also carried the ball 93 times for 544 yards and four touchdowns. He put up those numbers — which earned him the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award — despite having a subpar offensive line. Murray was sacked 48 times in his rookie season, which was tied with Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson for the most of any quarterback.
Murray also didn’t have any big-time receivers, other than veteran Larry Fitzgerald, but second-year WR Christian Kirk played pretty well, catching 68 passes in 13 games.
Looking ahead to this season
Kyler Murray will be looking to improve on last season’s performance this fall, and the Cardinals have already gotten him more help in the receiving corps.
This offseason, they traded for WR DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans. Hopkins is one of the league’s best receivers, and he’s still in his prime as he will be just 28 when the season starts. But Murray should also improve in his own abilities now that he has a season under his belt.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim told NBC Sports that the team expects Murray to grow this season because of “the way he studies, the way he prepares.” Keim went on to say that Murray is a better pure passer than people originally thought, and what separates him from other quarterbacks is “the ability to process, to see things, to make good decisions” and to get the ball out of his hands and not take as many sacks. Keim believes “those are the areas that you’re going to see him grow in 2020.”