After spending 16 years in the NFL, one would think Cardinals star receiver Larry Fitzgerald has pretty much seen it all in some way, shape or form. Well, watching the fast maturation of first-overall pick Kyler Murray first hand has him stunned.
The young signal-caller, the 20th quarterback to work with Fitzgerald in his career, has impressed in the early days of training camp. Of course, being a top-overall pick, there was little doubt that Murray would be able to flash his talent and raw ability on occasion, but, like any rookie, hiccups are expected. Fitzgerald just hasn’t seen them yet.
“I’ve never seen a quarterback come in so quickly and be able to command an offense,” Fitzgerald said of Murray while talking to his former quarterback, Kurt Warner, on the NFL Network’s Inside Training Camp Live on Sunday. “I mean, from Day 1, he’s out there checking the different plays, sliding the line, different protections, getting us in screens when blitzes are coming. His understanding of the offense is crazy.
“I think that’s going to give us a great advantage, to play fast from the first preseason game all the way to the start of the regular season and giving him the keys to the car and letting him is going to be great for us.”
Murray has landed in an ideal situation with the Cardinals and his relationship with first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury could be a key component to why he’s been able to pick up the offense as quickly as Fitzgerald is illustrating.
Naturally, these comments made by arguably the greatest player to every put on a Cards uniform could create lofty expectations for Murray in his rookie season. So what kind of totals should we be looking for?
Outside of Murray, there’ve been seven quarterback taken with the top overall selection since 2009: Baker Mayfield, Jared Goff, Jameis Winston, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford. Four of those quarterbacks (Winston, Luck, Newton and Bradford) were the Week 1 starters and played all 16 regular season games, as Murray is projected to do.
From a passing standpoint, if you average those four quarterbacks’ rookie years out, a season where Murray completes 57.9% of his passes for 3,994-ish yards, 21 touchdowns and just over 16 interceptions would put him amongst his peers. That’s not even accounting for Murray’s rushing ability that he showed off at Oklahoma last year to the tune of 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Now for Fitzgerald, those projected passing totals would be the best quarterback play from a single player since Carson Palmer chucked for over four thousand yards in 2016, so it’s no wonder the veteran is giddy at the possibilities Murray brings to Arizona.