Few players have entered the league with as much anticipation as Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. The hype surrounding him has been so intense the Cardinals took him with the first pick in the draft. Murray quickly became the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) honors.
Expectations are certainly high for the former Heisman winner. So high, that practically one-third of the money that one sportsbook has taken on OROY bets has been on Murray—and, officially, he isn’t even a lock to start!
But with what he did at Oklahoma last season and being paired with Kliff Kingsbury, there is a perception that the perfect marriage has occurred. Kingsbury’s offense is ideal for a player like Murray. If it happens to translate to the NFL as well as fans hope, Murray could have a magical season.
He could definitely win OROY—if the offense translates.
For years, the ‘college game’ has been bashed by NFL purists for not adequately preparing guys to play in the NFL—especially quarterbacks. But in recent years, many offensive coordinators have started adopting aspects of the college game.
Rather than try to force a quarterback to play a system and style that is foreign to him, they develop a system around him. They utilize his skill set rather than try to force him to develop a new one. This has led to guys like Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield having a lot of early success and could do the same for Murray.
Because of how well Watson and Mayfield played right out of the game in systems that suited them, fans are expecting Murray to do the same. If he does, he will win OROY.
The odds for the top OROY candidates are as follows (according to BetOnline.ag):
- Kyler Murray +160
- Darrell Henderson, Dwayne Haskins +700
- Josh Jacobs +800
- David Montgomery +1400
- Deebo Samuel +1600
- Mecole Hardman +1800
- Miles Sanders, N’Keal Harry, Parris Campbell +2000
- K. Metcalf, Marquise Brown, T.J. Hockenson +2500
But are we giving Murray too much credit too soon? His reputation and that of Kliff Kingsbury have resulted in some pretty big expectations being placed on Murray. How are we to know that is up to the challenge or that Kingsbury is?
Murray only started one season in college. Yes, it was a great season, but teams would have been better prepared for him this season had he returned. As for the architect of the Cardinals offense, Kliff Kingsbury, he was fired from Texas Tech for a reason.