The Pick: Linebacker Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

The Los Angeles Chargers traded up to select linebacker Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. This year, they have drafted two first rounders for the first time since 2005 (outside linebacker Shawne Merriman and defensive end Luis Castillo). Prior to this trade, general manager Tom Telesco had only traded up once, from 17 to 15 in the 2015 NFL draft for running back Melvin Gordon. Fast forwarding to 2020, Telesco moved their second and third round picks to draft the new leader of their defense.

Was it good value?

The Chargers gave the Patriots their 37th and 71st picks in exchange for the New England Patriots’ 23rd pick. When looking at it from a big picture view, the Bolts only moved one extra pick to get back into the first round—a solid value. According to CBS’s chart, the Chargers received 211.59 points in value for 207.13 which is perfect. Pro Football Reference has the Chargers receiving 760 points for 765 points.  The added bonus of this trade up is the fifth-year option on their new defensive weapon.

How does it fit with the Chargers?

Over the past few years, the Chargers have been improving the speed of the linebacking core with Uchenna Nwosu, Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill. Last year, Thomas Davis was a failed attempt to improve the speed as well. Before Murray, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was going to have a tough time figuring out who would be leading their linebacking corps. Now, it is less of a question.

Murray’s speed should be able to overcome his less developed play recognition and block shedding abilities. Nwosu remains the Sam/Otto and rushes the passer most of the time when he is on the field. At Mike, Denzel Perryman will be competing with Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill for snaps. Optimally, Perryman gets snaps in 2020 as a pure run stuffer. Meanwhile, Tranquill and White continue making plays in coverage and on special teams. This leaves the Will linebacker spot for the 4.52 tackling machine with some competition from Tranquill as well.


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