Now that the combine has arrived, it feels like the 2019 season has officially kicked off. Incoming rookies will get to put their skills on display and hopefully, their names on some big boards. We will take a look at one of those names that might make it on the Bucs board. Cornerback from Washington, Byron Murphy.
It’s no secret how bad the Buccaneers secondary was in 2018. It was historically bad. Some would say the achilles-heel of the team. Plenty of youth to build around and develop already, but the Bucs, (Licht specifically) can’t wait too long. They need to win now. With needs all over and the defensive line a focus point last year, it’s time to bolster the back end. Is there a Corner in this draft worth taking? Let’s find out. First rookie prospect I’d like to look at is Byron Murphy.
Coming in at 5’11” and 180lb’s, Byron Murphy was pound for pound one of the surest and hardest hitting tacklers for his position. Initially, it’s not ideal to draft your Corners with the focus in stopping the run, but this is an added bonus with Murphy.
None of this is eye-popping statistically speaking, but the tape shows otherwise. You can look at highlights all day, every day but that won’t help you evaluate. Al Bundy probably had great highlight film. Look at film where it shows the play no matter what the impact and everything I saw with Murphy screamed CB1.
This is film from the Washington / Utah game last season with focus on Murphy’s plays. Every play to his side was either broken up or the Ute player was hit within seconds.
Does he fit?
Let’s take a look at the Buccaneers Corners as of today and what their 2018 produced.
- Vernon Hargreaves (IR)
- Brent Grimes – 48 Tackles, 6 PD, 0 INTs, 1 FF
- Carlton Davis – 40 Tackles, 4 PD, 0 INTs, 1 FF
- M.J Stewart – 33 Tackles, 3 PD, 0 INTs, 0 FF
- Ryan Smith – 36 Tackles, 6 PD, 1 INT, 1 FF
- Javien Elliot – 24 Tackles, 1PD, 1 INT, 0 FF
To be fair, it was later reported that Mike Smith lost control of this defense early and left plenty of players confused during the game. With that being said, this is just unacceptable performance from NFL “Starters”
Grimes has talked his way out of Tampa most likely. Hargreaves is likely to assume slot duty and Stewart is reported to see reps at Safety, this leaves Davis as the lead corner. While he showed promise, this just isn’t enough.
Expectations and cost
Some scouts expect to see Murphy run a sub 4.5 40 time this week. If he has a good showing when corners take the field he may solidify himself as a day one draft pick. This is where it becomes problematic as a Bucs target.
Is he worth a top five pick? In my opinion, no. Not yet anyways. Mostly as a result of how many blue chip assets are in this draft. If the Bucs can find a trade partner for a QB needy team, they could find themselves in a position to draft their next CB1. I have to believe fellow Husky, and 2018 Buccaneers first round pick Vita Vea is pleading his case for Murphy.