From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy.
#98 Myles Murphy/EDGE Clemson – 6’5 268
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Myles Murphy||6050, 268||8 1/2||33 3/4||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Noticeably explosive off the ball post snap, nice get off
— Has experience playing in both three- and four-down fronts (aligned primarily as a 5-tech, but worked as a 9-tech, and 3-tech on occasional as well)
— Unique athlete for his size and position
— Athleticism and quickness make him tough to deal with on stunts and games
— Converts speed to power well, is able to get tackles on their heels and walk them into the pocket with his long-arm
—Shows great effort when retracing, does a nice job in pursuit when quarterbacks step up in the pocket and look to escape
— Long strider, his top-end closing speed is noticeable on tape
— Uses his length well, locks tackles out, and disengages with a push/pull move; it’s his best counter when speed to power fails
— Has experience playing both the right and left defensive end spots
— Has experience playing from a two-point stance and dropping into coverage
— Does a nice job when asked to box blocks in the run game, generates serious knockback when blocked by tight ends and fullbacks, shortening the edge for his teammates
— Extremely high motor player, will get sacks at the next level through pure effort
— Does a nice job chasing down runs from the backside when left unblocked
— Got noticeably better on tape with each season of experience, was borderline unblockable in the run game by his final season at Clemson
— Great anchor in the run game, rarely gets driven backward or moved out of a gap
—Does a nice job to get hands up and affect passing lanes
— Extremely scheme versatile, able to effectively play from a two-point stance, three-point stance, or four point stance on the edge
— Could immediately serve as a dominant run defender in the NFL while continuing to refine his pass-rush plan
— Somewhat raw in the pass-rush department, lacks a refined plan at the moment, no great counters when speed to power fails
— Needs to be more consistent in reading his keys, his eyes can be a bit all over the place post snap
— Plays with high pad level at times, making it tough for him to finish sacks and TFLs
— Needs to attack half-man more as a pass rusher, far too often just rushes right into the tackle’s chest, working speed to power; needs to get them off balance before engaging
— Must improve at finishing reps, will beat blockers with speed but fails to rip and fully disengage, preventing him from bending and finishing the sack
— Struggles with bluff action, needs to burn his eyes to his keys, which will speed up his processing
— Extremely raw in coverage, gets caught with his eyes glued on quarterbacks and covers grass more often than attaching to receivers (old adage “if you see the quarterback throw you will see the receiver catch the football”)
— 119 tackles 37 TFLs 17.5 sacks 6 FFs 5 PDs
— 2022: 40 tackles 11 TFLs 6.5 sacks 1 FF 2 PDs
— 2022 First-Team All-ACC
— 2021 Second-team All-ACC
— A consensus top-10 overall recruit coming out of high school
— Born January 3rd, 2002; will be just 21 years old for most of his rookie season in the NFL
— Underclassmen prospect, was a true junior this past season at Clemson
After focusing primarily on the defensive back class up to this point, I decided to pivot and take a look at one of the top edge rushers in this year’s class, that being Clemson’s Myles Murphy. Equipped with ideal measurables to play at the next level, Murphy is a unique athlete for his size, blessed with an explosive first step, solid top-end speed, and great play strength, allowing him to serve as a dominant anchor in the run game.
A tough player to move in the run game from the day he stepped onto campus at Clemson, Murphy’s hand usage improved mightily by his final season when he had become borderline unblockable. Using his advantages in size and play strength, Murphy can easily dominate matchups against tight ends and fullbacks. He is equally effective at boxing pulling blockers, where he is able to routinely generate serious knockback, shortening the edge for his teammates and disrupting the ball carrier’s path.
Here, working as a 6-technique (aligned head up on the tight end), Murphy’s powerful hand usage is on full display, immediately locking out and rag-dolling the tight end with a push/pull move before coming to balance, getting hands on the puller, and squaring up to tackle the back after a minimal gain.
Murphy’s ability to stay square and occupy gaps while engaged with blockers makes him a borderline elite run defender on the edge, particularly given his youth and inexperience. Here, aligned in a 5-technique (inside foot aligned to outside foot of the tackle), Murphy slants inside at the snap to close off the B-gap. That forces the back to bounce to the edge, at which point he gets his outside arm free, works to disengage, and tackles the back at the line of scrimmage.
By the end of his tenure at Clemson, single blocking Murphy with ACC offensive tackles was simply no longer a viable option. His high-level activity as a run defender should immediately translate to the next level.
Clips like this one here are a major part of the reason, along with a weak edge class, that Murphy has a chance to hear his name called among the first 10 picks. This time, aligned as a 5-tech, Murphy is left unblocked on the backside. He follows his key into the backfield and shows off the closing speed to hawk Zay Flowers behind the line of scrimmage on the reverse. His unrelenting motor and high-level closing speed consistently show up in pursuit.
A common theme in Murphy’s game, he consistently dominates and manhandles matchups against smaller-framed players, a trend which translates as a pass rusher in addition to his work in the run game. Aligned in a four-point stance, aligned head up on the #1 receiver to a tight bunch formation, Murphy explodes off the ball, working a speed to power move and bull rushing the tight end into the pocket to generate immediate pressure. After pushing the tight end up the arc, Murphy disengages, re-traces, and corrals the BC quarterback to finish the sack.
While he lacks a super refined pass rush plan at this point, often looking lost when his speed to power, long-arm move is stuffed, Murphy’s explosive first step is enough to put pressure on tackles immediately post snap. Here, rushing from a ghost alignment (head up on an imaginary tight end), Murphy explodes off the ball, forcing the Florida State tackle to open his hips, at which point he engages the long arm.
After stunning the tackle with his long arm to stay clean, Murphy works to bend the arc, fighting through contact to disengage and finishes a high-level pass rush rep with a sack. While the counters have not yet developed, Murphy’s athleticism, strength, and ability to threaten tackles with his ability to convert speed to power is a great starting point, particularly for an underclassman prospect.
Working through the process of developing counter moves, Murphy showed signs of developing a push/pull move as a counter when his initial speed to power move was stuffed. Working from a 5-tech last season against Boston College, Murphy shows a nice get off at the snap, but has his bull-rush stuffed by the Boston College left tackle.
Feeling the left tackle leaning on him to anchor against the power move, Murphy smartly works a push/pull move to get the tackle off balance, ripping and bending the arc to finish for another quality sack. While the sack numbers didn’t necessarily increase from year to year, his progression on tape clearly shows a player becoming more refined both in defending the run and as a pass rusher.
Naturally, Murphy’s explosive get-off post snap makes him extremely effective when working stunts and games up front. Here, aligned in a 3-technique (inside foot aligned on outside foot of the guard), Murphy loops behind the nose, Bryan Bresee, exploding through the backside B-gap to generate immediate pressure, finishing the rep with a sack of Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett. His positional and alignment versatility should allow defensive coordinators to get creative with Murphy’s ability to execute stunts from all across the defensive front.
On tape, Murphy’s biggest issue centered around struggles with maintaining proper pad level. A naturally larger framed player, Murphy tends to play a bit high at times, which can cause him issues when forced to break down and change direction quickly.
Here, Murphy disengages from a block to close down an escape lane for the Virginia quarterback, but approaches the point of contact far too high, causing him left lunging for air when the quarterback changes direction on a juke move. Murphy missed countless sack and tackle for loss attempts due to his tendency to approach tackles out of control and with high-pad level.
Myles Murphy enters the NFL as a high-level run defender, with the necessary athletic traits and consistent motor to become a productive pass rusher. While he may never develop into an All-Pro, Murphy’s high-level run defense should make him a long-term, productive starter at the NFL level.
Measurables and traits wise, Murphy reminds me a bit of longtime New Orleans Saints edge, Marcus Davenport, in their ability to overpower blockers with their sheer size and play strength. Similarly, both players have deceptive straight-line speed.
While he is likely off the board before the Steelers’ first-round selection — and edge is likely not the most important need to be addressed with the 17th pick – Murphy should be able to provide immediate contributions as a rookie, while offering enticing upside, contingent on if he can work to refine his approach as a pass rusher. Regardless of where he winds up, I expect Murphy to have a lengthy and productive career at the next level.
Projection: Early to Mid Day One
Depot Draft Grade: 8.8-Year 1 Quality Starter (1st Round)
Games Watched: vs Virginia (2020), at Pitt (2021), vs Boston College (2021), vs Georgia (2021), at Notre Dame (2022), at Florida State (2022), at Boston College (2022)