The NFL community was quite accepting when Kyler Murray was selected first overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. When Daniel Jones was drafted only five spots after Murray (6th overall) that was a different story. After a hot 2-0 start as a starter, New York Giants fans became more accepting of their new quarterback.
There’s optimism surrounding both of these young signal-callers, but who has the edge when they face off this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.?
Looking at what they’ve done so far is step one and both have been impressive considering how hard it is to play quarterback as a rookie.
Kyler Murray has completed 64.3% of his passes with 7.0 yards per attempt.
Daniel Jones has completed 60.7% of his passes with 6.6 yards per attempt.
Both have also dealt with 5 dropped passes, giving Kyler an edge here. Not only is a near 4% difference significant but Kyler is averaging .4 more yards per attempt as well.
Kyler Murray averages 277 yards per game with 7 total passing touchdowns.
Daniel Jones averages 184 yards per game with 5 total passing touchdowns.
Murray’s passing yards per game are well above Jones’. Ironically, that hasn’t led to an edge in scoring through the air. Both have 1 more passing TD than games they’ve started, sharing the same exact touchdown-rate as passers.
Kyler Murray has started in 6 games and has 4 interceptions. Certainly a respectable mark for any rookie, he’s on pace for finishing under 13 interceptions. Murray has been sacked on 8.1% of his dropbacks.
Daniel Jones hasn’t fared as well protecting the football, he’s thrown 6 interceptions in 4 starts. He’s currently on pace to throw 15+ interceptions by seasons end. Jones has been sacked on 6.7% of his dropbacks.
Not all sacks are due to the quarterback’s decisions. However, for how often Jones is critiqued for hanging around in the pocket too long it’s interesting to see Murray is actually sacked more often. Arizona’s offensive line is also more of a liability than what Daniel Jones has around him, giving Murray more of a pass as far as handling the pressure.
Kyler Murray has 39 rushing attempts with 283 rushing yards. With 6.5 rushing attempts per game, this will obviously be a larger part of Murray’s game than Jones’.
Daniel Jones has 15 rushing attempts with 86 yards. He only has 3 attempts per game but averages 5.7 yards per attempt.
Jones averaging not even a whole yard less than Murray on the ground is quite impressive but the difference in volume does remain a factor. While the volume is an argument in Murray’s favor in YPA (yards per attempt) Jones has scored the same amount of touchdowns on the ground (2) on 27 fewer carries.
Based on results so far Kyler Murray has an edge and it’s not just because he’s collected more stats with a 2 game head-start on Jones.
His completion percentage is higher while throwing further down the field on average. He’s also thrown 2 fewer interceptions in 2 more games played.
When comparing the play of 2 quarterbacks their opponents need to be considered as well.
Here’s a list of defensive rankings Kyler Murray has been up against so far:
Defensive pass yards allowed: 28th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 11th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 26th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 6th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 9th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 10th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 23rd
Passing touchdowns allowed: T-12th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 15th
Passing touchdowns allowed: T-12th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 27th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 30th
In 4 of 6 matchups, Kyler Murray was matched up against defenses who surrender plenty of passing yards. Only 2 of their opponents ranked better than 23rd in the league in pass yards allowed. His 7 passing touchdowns is an adequate mark but it’s important to note 3 of them came in week 6 against Atlanta’s bottom-third secondary. The other teams have been stingy across the board, all ranking in the top 12 in passing touchdowns allowed.
Here’s a list of defensive rankings Daniel Jones has been up against so far:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Defensive pass yards allowed: 32nd
Passing touchdowns allowed: 23rd
Defensive pass yards allowed: 20th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 29th
Defensive pass yards allowed: 7th
Passing touchdowns allowed: 19th
New England Patriots:
Defensive pass yards allowed: 2nd
Passing touchdowns allowed: 1st
Daniel Jones capitalized on a weak unit in Tampa Bay with 4 total touchdowns. Based on Washington’s pass defense his 1TD-1INT passing-line against them isn’t super impressive. His next 2 games, however, were practically deaths-row for a rookie quarterback. He went up against 2 top 10 units in the Vikings and Patriots, ultimately creating a 2TD-4INT passing-line against the teams collectively. Throwing a touchdown in Xavier Rhodes’ coverage and throwing the first touchdown against Bellichick’s defense in week 6 were still signs of encouragement during his current slump.
Facing Each-other’s Defenses:
Kyler Murray will be facing the Giants defense who currently ranks:
• 31st in passing yards allowed
• 19th in passing touchdowns allowed
• 24th in rushing yards allowed
• 20th in rushing touchdowns allowed
• 12th in sacks
• 8th in interceptions
Daniel Jones will be facing the Cardinals defense who currently ranks:
• 30th in passing yards allowed
• 31st in passing touchdowns allowed
• 26th in rushing yards allowed
• 3rd in rushing touchdowns allowed
• 14th in sacks
• 32nd in interceptions
Both rookie quarterbacks have a juicy matchup on Sunday but Daniel Jones looks set up to have a better afternoon against the weaker defense. Patrick Peterson does return this week but he’s only one man in a secondary that has struggled across the board. Murray has been the more impressive player so far but there’s less of a gap between Murray and Jones compared to the Arizona and New York defenses.