NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Kent St CB Najee Murray

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Najee Murray/CB Kent State – 5’8/5 182

The Good

– Physical prospect who plays bigger than his size
– Wrap up tackler but reliable in the open field and attacks tackles/run support aggressively
– Does well to play his man downfield on vertical throws, stays in-phase
– Good leaper who times his jumps and shows ability to play the pocket, strong hands to finish
– Shows long speed and a quality athlete overall
– Versatile and played all three cornerback spots
– Gives effort in press and shows physicality, functional strength and does nice job to stay square on his jam
– Man and zone experience, used as a blitzer from the slot too
– High effort player who doesn’t loaf, maximizes talent

The Bad

– Clearly undersized and underweight
– Small frame gave him trouble in man coverage against big receivers, coming downhill to play the ball or in press man
– Size will likely demand a permanent move to the slot
– Too often catches in press and needs to clean up his hands
– Testing at Pro Day was good but not spectacular for undersized guy
– Didn’t play against top flight competition
– Statistically underwhelming career
– Some off the field questions to be answered

Bio

– Two year full-time starter
– Career: 103 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 1 FF
– 2016: 47 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 INTs
– Originally committed to Ohio State, played for Buckeyes in 2012 before suffering knee injury, made three tackles
– Was indefinitely suspended by team for violation of team rules, asked for scholarship release, was granted, and transferred to Kent State, sitting out 2013 season
– Ran track in high school
– Reportedly ran 4.54 at Pro Day, jumped 34 inches in vert, 4.05/6.83 agility drills

Tape Breakdown

Murray, like so many corners, has a Napolean Complex. Short in statue, but certainly plays big. And it’s hard not to like this kid. He’s a good athlete, lined up everywhere, has ball skills, and a willing/competent tackler in the open field.

In 2015, he played on the outside most of the time. That mean he was constantly challenged by tall receivers, to him, every WR is tall, downfield. And he held his own in the red zone and on vertical shots. Good technique, playing the man, not the ball, to break this throw up. Did it twice in this game. I’ll show you one.

And he’s a great tackler, even if he isn’t going to lay the hurt on anyone. Like his demeanor and ability to wrap up in open space. We’ll show his attitude here, taking on this 220+ pound back and bringing him down in the open field.

But he didn’t win every matchup on the outside. Watched him against Toledo’s Alonzo Russell, weighing in at 6’3, 260, and he gave Murray fits. Man coverage here but Russell bumps him off the top of the route and makes the catch.

Being small doesn’t automatically mean you get moved to the inside. Some guys can still hang on the outside. But Murray is smaller than even the typical corner we look at and his tape says he should go inside. Especially with how he tested, with pretty strong shuttle drills. He was playing there in most of the 2016 snaps I watched so there’s no learning curve for him and he does well against the run and is an apt and experienced blitzer.

Yes, he went to a “small school,” though that stuff is sort of a misnomer because he held his own against teams like Alabama. But there was big time talent considering Ohio State wanted him. He’s in late round consideration and someone I think can make an immediate impact on special teams.

I see some Nickell Roby-Coleman in him. Ditto with Jerraud Powers.

Projection: Late Day Three

Games Watched: at Toledo, vs Marshall, vs NC A&T, at Alabama, vs Western Michigan,

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
Chidobe Awuzie DeShone Kizer Marlon Mack Cameron Sutton Zach Cunningham
Corey Davis Carl Lawson Patrick Mahomes Kareem Hunt Evan Engram
Derek Rivers Ryan Anderson Joshua Dobbs Jordan Leggett Samaje Perine
Corn Elder Bucky Hodges James Conner Cooper Kupp Stanley Williams
Fred Ross Jamaal Williams George Kittle Ejuan Price Chris Wormley
Jeremy McNichols Joe Mathis Derek Barnett Amba Etta-Tawo Gareon Conley
Taco Charlton  Elijah McGuire Ryan Switzer Tanoh Kpassagnon Tre’Davious White
Brian Hill Matthew Dayes Donnel Pumphrey Josh Reynolds Nazair Jones
De’Veon Smith Davis Webb Obi Melifonwu TJ Watt John Ross
Jerod Evans Vince Biegel Josh Carraway Josh Malone Kevin King
Fadol Brown Chris Godwin Nate Gerry Jordan Willis Stacy Coley
Zay Jones Jimmie Gilbert Glen Antoine Tarell Basham Duke Riley
Rayshawn Jenkins Chad Kelly Trey Hendrickson Jeremy Sprinkle Joe Williams
D’Onta Foreman Carlos Watkins Damontae Kazee Wayne Gallman Willie Quinn
Xavier Woods Elijah Hood Malik McDowell Desmond King Solomon Thomas
Cordrea Tankersley Raekwon McMillan Josh Harvey-Clemons Christian McCaffrey Chris Carson
Montravius Adams Aaron Jones Mack Hollins Deatrich Wise Jr Adoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-Schuster Josh Jones Davon Godchaux Lorenzo Jerome Quincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatu Mike Williams Ahkello Witherspoon Dede Westbrook Tedric Thompson
Marcus Maye Joe Mixon Taywan Taylor Tyson Fernandez Jarrad Davis
Ishmael Zamora Daeshon Hall CJ Beathard Kendell Beckwith Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul Douglas Marcus Williams Devonte Fields Justin Evans Kenny Golladay
Marquez White Chad Williams Curtis Samuel D.J. Jones Seth Russell
Amara Darboh Noah Brown Malik Hooker Carroll Phillips Isaiah Ford
Marlon Humphrey T.J. Logan Jalen Myrick Chad Hansen Eddie Jackson
Budda Baker Jahad Thomas Fabian Moreau Matt Milano Tashawn Bower
Jason Croom Jamal Agnew Howard Wilson Shaquill Griffin Keionta Davis
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