Is Kyler Murray a Dark-Horse MVP Candidate?

Howard Balzer

Kyler Murray is becoming a popular subject in Albert Breer’s SI.com columns.

Earlier in the week, Breer wrote about the Cardinals quarterback in the 10 Takeaways section of Monday Morning Quarterback.

Then, in his mailbag column this week, Breer was asked by a reader: “What does DeAndre Hopkins’s arrival do to (head coach) Kliff (Kingsbury) and Kyler’s offense? What kind of crazy sets will we see? Is Kyler a dark horse MVP candidate?

“Well, I do think if Kingsbury wants to go 10 personnel (four receivers) more often, then he most certainly has the horses to pull it off this year, with Hopkins joining Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and three draft picks from 2019 at the position," Breer responded. "Add the versatile Kenyan Drake to that equation, and there’ll be a ton of room for Kingsbury to cook up some pretty creative looks.

“As for what Hopkins does for Murray, I think the idea of those two in the scramble drill has to be frightening for defensive coordinators, so you can start there — broken plays will be a problem for the Cardinals’ opponents, as if they weren’t already. Now, the flip side here is that Murray’s going to have to learn to throw to Hopkins, who doesn’t separate the way other elite receivers do, but can catch the ball in traffic better than anyone in pro football.

“Deshaun Watson, you’ll remember, had a pretty longstanding relationship with Hopkins (both being Clemson guys), and that helped in that regard. It’s on Murray to build that kind of rapport with his new No. 1 receiver.

“Could that mean winning the MVP? I’m not ruling it out. He has a lot of the factors that Carson Wentz, Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson had for their Year 2 breakouts (creative offensive coaches, a legit No. 1 skill player, investment in the tackle positions). That said, he plays in the NFC West, which won’t make it easy.”

Here is Breer’s complete column.

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