NAME: Byron Murphy
WEIGHT: 185 pounds
With the NFL Combine taking place this week, it’s time for another Chiefs potential prospect profile breakdown. Today’s prospect is a player, who some see as the best cornerback in this draft class. I would have to agree with those high praises for Byron Murphy. Washington has produced a good handful of athletes in the secondary over the last few seasons. Let’s go ahead and look at his attributes.
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Murphy is a smooth defender, who does well in transitioning his hips and feet from backpedaling to running with receivers in space. That part of his game is very fluid. He likes to sit on top of routes and read them before the ball is released. His size can hurt him a tad when wanting to press receivers at the line of scrimmage. Overall, Murphy does a nice job of staying with defenders down the field. He must be careful though, as to not get caught looking at the wrong spot when reading a play.
As I mentioned, he likes to read what is occurring in front of him often before playing the ball. Murphy’s ball skills, closing speed and timing to switch off from one route to another in zone coverage is all very exceptional. Murphy is not a great tackler, but when he can line receivers up in his sights, he’ll lay the boom on them. There is a noticeable way that Murphy knows when to time his jump for high passes in coverage, or when to swat for low passes.
For a smaller defensive back, Murphy does a nice job of getting gritty in coverage. Overall, his smoothness cancels out his ability to be grabby at times. His energy for a player where many people may look at his ball skills, more than anything may not see the fire that Murphy brings when going toe to toe with opposing receivers. I think this part of his game is just as big to his coverage/ball skills/ instincts.
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Murphy’s awareness is pretty good. Also, the angles he takes towards his opponents when the ball is in the air may be even better. His swift hand usage in coverage allows for interceptions, tipped balls that have a good chance of being intercepted by a teammate, or a pass breakup. When he is staying with a receiver downfield, Murphy can track the ball almost better than his opponent.
Based off of mock drafts by different analysts, Murphy could wind up being selected in any kind of spot in the first round. I think if the Chiefs want him though, it may take a trade up from 29th overall to do so. Murphy’s ability to play in space and stay tight in coverage downfield are much needed on the Chiefs defense. Because of Kansas City’s secondary, Murphy is a plug and play into the cornerback room. Above all, he would become one of the best young prospects the Chiefs will have had at that position in a long time.
Thank you for reading. With the NFL combine just days away, make sure you check out other draft prospect previews on Full Press Coverage.