2014 NFL Draft: Trent Murphy Scouting Report
By Nick Slegel on February 08, 2014
Weight: 252 lbs
Athleticism: Murphy possesses a unique blend of size, quickness, balance and agility that make him an ideal candidate for the NFL. He’s tall, but lean; with a frame capable of adding muscle easily. But, for a big man, he is agile, sturdy and sure footed. It takes quite the effort to knock him off balance. And while he may lack quality high-end speed, he’s deceptively quick and can close on ball carriers in the backfield and out in space easily.
Awareness: Murphy really shows off the mental prowess of a Stanford student in his ability to read and react to plays. He can read a quarterback and know what the play is before his first step hits the ground, allowing him to make the necessary corrections to defend the play properly.
Murphy is capable of getting his hands up at the last possible second to disrupt a passing lane, as well as disengaging to bring down a running back breaking for the outside.
Arsenal of Moves: A sign of a good edge rusher is the moves they use to break into the backfield, and Murphy has a bag full of tricks.
He has an exceptional spin move, as well as a deceptive shoulder dip and an effective bull-rush technique, when blitzing out of a 3-point stance.
This hat trick of moves allows Murphy to keep blockers on their toes and second guess themselves, as they never know what move is coming.
Flexibility: Murphy can be very stiff in the hips when dropping back in coverage. He does a great job of getting his hands on the receiver or tight end, but loses them quickly when they make moves to cut away. He also struggles occasionally bending around the edge - he’ll try to swing around the outside too stiffly and get stood up by the blocker and taken out of the play. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s very noticeable when it does.
Lack of Explosion: While he does possess solid speed and agility for his size, Murphy lacks that explosive first step you’re looking for in a dominant pass rusher. You will never see Murphy explode off the line and beat the blocker into the backfield.
Requires Too Many Pass-Rush Moves: It’s fairly evident that Murphy has developed and honed his stable of moves to compensate for his lack of explosion. Since he can’t explode in past the blocker, Murphy is quickly engaged, causing him to work through a series of moves to get to the backfield. He is talented enough to get into the backfield this way, but it will seriously limit his ability to sack the quarterback at the next level.
NFL Comparison: J.J. Watt and Paul Kruger
If you’ve read or listened to any of my draft work over the last year, you’ll know full well how much I hate making player comparisons. I’m not entirely good at it, and I’m not a huge fan of pigeon holing a player before they take a single snap at the NFL level. With that in mind, I can see a lot of Watt in Murphy’s game, with his smarts, ability to quickly read a play and his pass-swatting ability. He also reminds me of Kruger when he has his hand in the dirt, the way he initiates contact and works through the block.
Murphy has the size, frame, moves and smarts that NFL teams are looking for in a pass rusher. While he may never be a highlight-film star, Murphy is capable of playing with his hand down or standing up, as well as playing on coverage, which makes him extremely versatile and valuable in today’s league. As of right now I have a second-third round grade on him, and could see him being drafted anywhere in the second round, and possibly even being over-hyped into the bottom of the first.