BBD Staff Writer: Glenn Gifford
With several quality outside linebackers available in the 2014 NFL Draft, one player who may be around in the second round but is particularly intriguing is Stanford’s Trent Murphy. Murphy brings versatility that seems ideal for new defensive coordinator’s Mike Pettine defense.
Murphy established himself as a hard hitter and a dynamic playmaker during his junior season in 2012. He appears comfortable both playing in space as an outside linebacker and having his hand on the ground as a defensive end. His blend of size, quickness, instincts and versatility will serve him well at the next level.
Let’s take a closer look at potential Buffalo Bills 2014 draft selection Trent Murphy.
Buffalo looks to be a nice landing spot next year for an impact outside linebacker. The Bills addressed the inside linebacker position in this year’s draft with the second-round selection of Oregon’s Kiko Alonso. Consecutive safety picks Duke Williams (Nevada) and Jonathan Meeks (Clemson) in the fourth and fifth rounds showed Buffalo’s commitment to that position.
What is left for Buffalo? An additional cornerback and a quality pass-rushing threat off the edge would seem to shore up the defense nicely.
Murphy represents the versatility to potentially fill the need of another pass rushing threat off the edge. He is interchangeable at defensive end or outside linebacker because of his size (listed at 6’6″ and 261 pounds by Stanford’s official website), speed and instincts. Upon examination of his tape, one should see that Murphy is a “chameleon” when it comes to what system he can play in.
Murphy would also appear to be a great fit for a coach like Mike Pettine who works hard at disguising his defense. His 6 foot 5 inch frame combined with his 261 pounds make him interchangeable as an outside linebacker who can easily shift to the line. Let’s examine and break down some of Murphy’s highlight tape. You will see his versatility and playmaking ability.
Highlight Tape Review
What jumps off the highlight reel for me is the intensity that Murphy plays with. In short, Trent Murphy “brings the wood!” This is a football term identifying the fact that Murphy is an extremely hard hitter. His athleticism and versatility will be outlined chronologically.
Here is a play where Murphy (with his hand on the ground) makes a double diagnosis. Initially Murphy performs a fantastic low block deflect. This alone is a difficult move for a big man. Not only does Murphy avoid the chop block, he proceeds to jump and intercept the pass and return it for a touchdown. The play is shown twice and you can really appreciate Murphy’s athleticism.
During this play vs. Notre Dame, Murphy does a great job at dipping his right shoulder to avoid being blocked. It is a very subtle but effective move. Also notice the punishment suffered by Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees. He repeats the performance the next two plays on the tape. Notice that this is done from both the OLB and defensive end positions. He is very effective at keeping separation between himself and the opposing offensive lineman.