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Myles Murphy: Why Draft?
The Seahawks have two top-20 picks and Murphy is back in the conversation: Seaside Joe 1499
I’ve never had “bigger, faster, stronger” be as evident as it was on Sunday morning as I was researching the number of edge rushers in the last two decades who match up athletically with Clemson’s Myles Murphy. This isn’t ‘evolution’…it’s more like rapid climate change.
Somebody get me the person who makes graphs for Al Gore.
You may have heard recently that Murphy’s measurables at a private workout were near-identical to those of Travon Walker, the Jaguars defensive lineman who ended up going first overall in 2022 purely based on size and athleticism.
It’s worth noting that these comparisons are not new; after Walker was the surprise pick in 2022, many said that Murphy was just as physically gifted but a better player and a more refined prospect who should be rated even higher in 2023. However, his junior season was widely viewed as a disappointment, restistering fewer sacks and tackles for a loss than 2021 and never actually meeting his potential as a former five-star recruit.
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In 2020, Clemson landed both defensive tackle Bryan Bresee (number one in the nation) and Murphy, who ranked seventh overall. While some of the elite recruits that year have entered the draft because they shined in college (Bijan Robinson (why draft?), Will Anderson (Pete dream?), Bryce Young (Draft where?)) and are ready for the next level, Bresee and Murphy seem to belong to a group with the likes of Anthony Richardson and Kelee Ringo, daring teams to pass on their traits just because they didn’t live up to the hype in college.
Surely like it was for Walker, not cited as even one of the top-five players on his own defense but last year signed a fully-guaranteed $37 million contract with Jacksonville, some of these bets on themselves should pay off.
Murphy was routinely projected as a top-10 pick prior to draft season, he and Bresee both saw their stock drop dramatically as fans and media got familiar with some prospects who may seem “safer” because of their college production or insane combine performances. However, Murphy’s recent workout (he didn’t test at the combine or Clemson’s pro day because of a hamstring injury) suggests that he could be creeping back into the top-15, if not the top-10.
Myles Murphy is 6’4, 268 lbs, “ran a 4.51”, a 7.22 in the 3-cone, and posted a 1.59 10-yard split.
Now, is that good enough to ignore the potential risk given his underwhelming college career at a top-tier program? As Danny Kelly notes in The Ringer’s draft guide:
While Murphy boasts a top-tier get-off, he too often loses steam once contacted by an offensive lineman. He needs to develop more countermoves off his first-step foundation. He tends to overrun the pocket and loses sight of the ball when defending the mesh point.
The reason that the answer is “It could be” comes down to several top-five comparisons:
Myles Murphy: 6’4, 268, 4.51, 7.22, 1.59
Jadeveon Clowney: 6’5, 266, 4.53, 7.27, 1.56
Travon Walker: 6’5, 272, 4.51, 6.89, 1.62
Dante Fowler: 6’3, 261, 4.60, 7.40, 1.56
Ziggy Ansah: 6’5, 271, 4.56, 7.11, 1.56
Even if you tamp Murphy’s 40-yard dash time down to 4.6, he would still have a “traits” argument to go in the top-5 just based on the NFL’s history of betting on uniquely-sized/fast edge players. And as I alluded to in the opening, it is a bit strange how quickly these types of pass rushers have developed in the last 20 years.
I went to StatHead and input these combine numbers for edge players dating back to 2000: At least 6’3, at least 260 lbs, runs a 4.60 or faster in the 40.
From 2000 to 2011, there were only five results: Derrius Monroe, Bryan Thomas, Isaac Hilton, Will Smith, and David McMillan. (Smith, Thomas went in the first round).
From 2012 to 2020, there were 10 results: Nick Perry, Cornelius Washington, Ziggy, Jadeveon, Bud Dupree, Fowler, Charles Tapper, Ade Aruna, Marcus Davenport, and Montez Sweat. Seven of them were first round picks.
There was nobody in 2020 and only a guy named Thomas Schaffer (undrafted) in 2021.
In 2022, there were three players: Walker, Sam Williams, and Boye Mafe.
In 2023, there were four players: YaYa Diaby, Isaiah Foskey, Lukas Van Ness, and D.J. Johnson. (These are only numbers from the combine, therefore why Murphy isn’t here but he would make five.)
That means that we’ve gone from having 15 results from 2000 to 2020 to having AT LEAST eight such examples in the last two rounds of the NFL Draft process alone. Either the numbers are being fabricated or the prospects are being labricated…which is a word I made up to imply that they’re being made in a lab.
The Seattle Seahawks have picks 5, 20, 37, and 53 in the first two rounds and are already known to have met with Louisville’s YaYa Diaby. It is no coincidence that Pete Carroll has made contractual agreements in the past with Ziggy, Clowney, and Mafe. If the Seahawks do not draft an edge player with the fifth overall pick, will they have their sights set on Murphy or Van Ness if they’re available at 20? Would Pete and John get an itchy trigger finger in the top-10, given that Murphy’s recent workout numbers could result in him never making it to 20?
This four-minute film breakdown by A to Z Sports Film Room argues that Murphy could be developed into a good pass rusher and run defender in the NFL with proper coaching, grading him out as a late first round pick with a comp of Green Bay’s Rashan Gary. Seattle’s recent hire of pass rush specialist coach Brandon Jones will be pivotal in developing not only whoever the Seahawks pick this year, but also Mafe and Darrell Taylor.
There are those who will be scared away from Myles Murphy because if he could disappoint as a five-star recruit, he could be just as underwhelming as a first round pick. I mean, the names above (Clowney, Ziggy, Fowler) as well as Marcus Davenport, Nick Perry, Bud Dupree, are almost across the board disappointments. There’s Will Smith and Montez Sweat, but even their careers had/have ups and downs.
The size/speed combo of someone like Murphy is enticing for obvious reasons but maybe teams have simply overrated the value of those traits without giving enough attention to how other prospects go above-and-beyond their physical abilities to become “steals” who go later in the draft. The Seahawks have just taken a shot on Boye Mafe and though he was a “second round pick”, we know that most teams—especially the Seahawks—do not see significant gaps between the prospect who goes #20 and the prospect who goes #40.
I am going to write a “run to the podium” article about Seattle’s #20 pick and I don’t think that Myles Murphy is going to be on it. But if you think that he or Bryan Bresee should be, let me know in the comments.
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