Byron Murphy – Cornerback
School: University of Washington
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
Weight: 182 lbs
Byron Murphy NFL Draft Profile
Top 3 Player Traits
Murphy has incredible ball skills, as he recorded seven interceptions (numbers say six, but a pick made in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl is unaccounted for on most sites) and twenty pass breakups during his 20 career games in a Husky uniform. He has a great ability to find the ball, even though he’s undersized. He almost always makes a smart play on the ball and knows how to get to a spot and beat a receiver there.
No matter who you are, big or small, fast, slow, or strong, Murphy can lock you down. He is excellent at flipping his hips and sticking to his man. This allows him to play fluidly in man coverage, and he is quick enough to play in a zone scheme. Murphy showed off great speed in college, and the ability to play big during his coverage of Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry. Murphy has excellent and quick feet to where every move he makes just seems to look natural and fluid.
A lot of scouts are projecting Murphy to be a nickel back at the next level, but his strength in the press and in his tackling says that he has what it takes to play on the outside. He also hits very well, and has the pop to knock the ball out whether it be for a PBU or a forced fumble, he caused two fumbles during his career. But he also has the ability to lay hits like this…
3 Player Traits In Need of Improvement
Well… this is unchangeable really, but scouts knock Murphy because he’s listed at 5’11, but will probably measure in closer to 5’10 at the NFL Combine. This has caused some scouts to even completely relegate him to being strictly a nickel back at the next level, but only a trial by fire during the preseason and Murphy’s rookie year will show if that’s truly the case. His size sometimes limits him from getting off of blocks from bigger receivers.
While Murphy is a sure tackler for a college player, he needs to be better about wrapping up guys in open space, because in the NFL some of the tackles where he simply lowers his shoulder as he does here will turn into misses in the NFL. He’s an excellent hitter, but at the pro level sometimes it’s better to be a sure tackler.
Doing Too Much
Murphy is an incredible playmaker, but the only time he truly seems to be exposed is when he tries to do too much and go after the ball aggressively. He has great makeup speed, but in the NFL that doesn’t always matter. The play below is a perfect example of how things can go wrong and then right for Murphy. He sometimes overcommits to either sitting back or coming too far up, which will allow for yards after catch at the next level.
Top 3 NFL Team Fits
The Browns could use another corner, and they would be creating a great, young athletic core of defensive backs by adding Murphy to play on the other side of Denzel Ward. They’ve found a piece that they can build around with Ward, so adding Murphy to the other side would give Cleveland an uber-athletic duo that could match up with some of the tougher receivers in the AFC North.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa was shredded through the air last season, and are desperate to get any sort of help in their passing defense. Murphy would be a major upgrade over anyone they have in the secondary right now, and since the Bucs have to face off with Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, and an emerging star in DJ Moore twice a year, a number one corner is crucial to the team’s success.
Another team that’s just desperate for secondary help. The Raiders have a young front four that are establishing themselves as legit players, but it won’t matter very much without a secondary that can cover. Murphy would be a great piece to add to the defense opposite Gareon Conley.
NFL Player Comparison
Murphy and Ward have very similar builds and play the game in a very similar manner. While Murphy won’t be running a 4.32 at the NFL Combine, he still provides athleticism and plug-and-play ability. He is someone that you can rely on to cover the other team’s number one receiver, and he’ll play a strong, physical game to try to throw the receiver out of rhythm.