The Cardinals were ecstatic when Byron Murphy was available with the first pick of the second round this April, and he’s already showing why.
The rookie cornerback finished with the second-best defensive grade on the team in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, according to Pro Football Focus. Murphy didn’t get good run defense marks (although, to the naked eye, that seemed surprising considering his physicality) but was lauded for his work in coverage.
Murphy graded out at 81.0 against the pass, allowing only 1-of-5 targets to be completed for 11 yards. Murphy had a tipped pass that almost resulted in an interception by Budda Baker, and also had the late pass breakup that was timed well enough to avoid pass interference.
Other tibits from Week 2:
- Baker finished as the highest-graded defender on the team at 79.0, with his coverage skills standing out. He just missed the pick and seems destined to get one soon from his new free safety position.
- Tight end Maxx Williams only played 14 snaps, but earned a sparkling 87.5 grade during his limited time on the field. Pro Football Focus gave him strong marks for the tough catch he made and his pass-blocking.
- Quarterback Kyler Murray was given a 68.8 grade, which was fifth-best on offense. His yards per attempt of 8.7 was sixth-best among quarterbacks this week (pending Monday night’s game), ahead of some of the bigger names in the league in just his second career start.
- Guard Justin Pugh almost didn’t play because of a stomach bug, but he gutted it out and held up well. Pugh finished with the best grade among the team’s offensive linemen at 68.5, including a strong 78.5 in pass protection.