Story at the Arizona Cardinals team website might give people some pause when drafting Kyler Murray. In talking about his 2020 season -- and the way the team took a downturn after he injured his shoulder midseason -- Murray hints (if not outright states) that he will be looking to run less this year.

"Honestly, the way I see it, my legs should be a luxury," says Murray. "And it wasn't like that last year; it was me having to run for us. Once my shoulder was banged up and I wasn't trying to put myself out there and take those hits, we hit a lull."

The difference showed up in the record -- Arizona started 6-3 and finished 2-5 -- and in his rushing production. In the first half of the season, Murray rushed for 543 yards and 8 touchdowns. That was the most yards of any quarterback, and the most touchdowns (along with Cam Newton), too.

Kyler Murray, Ariz.5438
Lamar Jackson, Balt.4693
Daniel Jones, NYG3160
Cam Newton, N.E.3148
Russell Wilson, Sea.2651
Josh Allen, Buff.2274
Carson Wentz, Phil.2025
Deshaun Watson, Hou.1971
Justin Herbert, LAC1662
Patrick Mahomes, K.C.1652
Teddy Bridgewater, Car.1611
Taysom Hill, N.O.1412
Sam Darnold, NYJ1381
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mia.1352
Joe Burrow, Cin.1303
Gardner Minshew, Jac.1221
Derek Carr, L.V.1080
Ryan Tannehill, Ten.1051
Dak Prescott, Dall.934

In the second half of the season, Murray rushed for about half as many yards, and fewer than half as many touchdowns. He was still above-average (5th among quarterbacks), but well off his initial pace.

Lamar Jackson, Balt.5364
Jalen Hurts, Phil.3543
Taysom Hill, N.O.3167
Cam Newton, N.E.2785
Kyler Murray, Ariz.2763
Russell Wilson, Sea.2481
Deshaun Watson, Hou.2472
Josh Allen, Buff.1945
Ryan Tannehill, Ten.1616
Patrick Mahomes, K.C.1430
Teddy Bridgewater, Car.1184
Daniel Jones, NYG1071
Mitchell Trubisky, Chi.1051
Drew Lock, Den.1021
Kirk Cousins, Min.1011
Baker Mayfield, Cle.1001
Andy Dalton, Dall.940
Aaron Rodgers, G.B.883
Marcus Mariota, L.V.881

Given that decline, it makes a lot of sense to scale back Murray's rushing projection for 2021. He finished with 819 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, but if you were projecting his full year out based on the second half, it's more realistic to see him rushing for 550 yards and 5-6 touchdowns. Still one of the league's best running quarterbacks, but not at Lamar Jackson's level, or perhaps even Jalen Hurts or Cam Newton.

On the other hand....

While we tend to place more stock in what happens the second half of the season than the first, the reality is that it's easy to say you'll run less in June, maybe not as easy to actually act accordingly in September and October. Arizona looked like a lock for the playoffs when Murray was running wild and the team went 6-3. When Murray ran less, protecting that injured shoulder, the team went 2-5.

In the linked story, Murray says the team needs to be better in all aspects of the game. He's talking about improving as a passer, which is reasonable.

But be careful about scaling back his rushing numbers too much. If the Cardinals need some critical yards to win games, and Murray has a chance to get those with his legs, I don't see him sticking in the pocket refusing to run. He may not be a 1,000-yard, 10-TD rusher, but he's still going to be one of the league's best running quarterbacks.

--Andy Richardson