Byron Murphy 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Byron Murphy

Overview
Position: Cornerback
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 182 pounds
School: Washington Huskies

Byron Murphy 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Washington’s best cornerback is officially entering the NFL Draft and should be one of the first defensive backs off the board. Redshirt sophomore Byron Murphy put together some of the best tape at the cornerback position over his two years on the field and earned First-Team All-Pac-12 honors for his 2019 play.

Murphy initially arrived at Washington as a four-star recruit. An Arizona native, Murphy was one of the best two-way athletes during his time in high school. Murphy played both wide receiver and cornerback during his high school days, recording 1,733 yards and 21 touchdowns as a wide receiver to go along with 52 tackles and seven interceptions as a cornerback.

Murphy committed to the Huskies football program, redshirting his way through the 2016 season. The 5’11” cornerback earned the starting spot in 2017, recording two interceptions and 13 tackles in six games played. After dipping his toe in the water in 2017, Murphy took his play to another level in 2018. Appearing in 14 games, Murphy recorded 37 tackles and four interceptions while playing lockdown coverage. He earned First-Team All-Pac-12 honors at cornerback while taking home the 2018 Pac-12 Championship Game MVP honors after recording two interceptions in the big game.

Strengths

  • Has the quickness and foot speed necessary to play man coverage;
  • Fast reflexes and recognition abilities;
  • Quick, fluid hips allow for seamless transition in coverage;
  • High football intelligence;
  • Strong ability to make plays on the ball;
  • Never arrives too early on a hit, gets to his man right when the ball does;
  • Isn’t afraid to deliver hard hits and dish out punishment.

Weaknesses

  • Undersized for an NFL cornerback;
  • Could struggle against NFL size and physicality;
  • Subpar run defender;
  • Physical style of play could lead to injuries;
  • Slight worry that an increase in weight could sap some of his speed.

NFL Comparison: Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara

Teams With Need at Position: Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets

Projection: Rounds one to two

Bottom Line

Byron Murphy is one of the top cornerbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft and should hear his name called in day one or two of the draft. Murphy’s better as a zone corner, as his quick reflexes, high football IQ, and fluid movement make him a perfect fit in a zone scheme. However, Murphy has shown an ability to follow a receiver stride-for-stride in man coverage.

The biggest concern with Murphy is his size. At 5’11” and 182 pounds, Murphy could struggle against larger NFL receivers. Adding weight will help with this, but he’ll always be on the smaller side of NFL cornerbacks. Still, he’s more than capable of taking away the average NFL receiver and should have a strong NFL career.

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