by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of University of Texas Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Texas, Defensive Line, Byron Murphy II
Name- Byron Murphy II
Pos- Defensive Line
HT/WT- 6’1” 308 lbs.
Home – DeSoto, TX
Byron Murphy was a 4-year letterman, an all-state and a two-time all-district defensive tackle at DeSoto High School in Texas. ESPN ranked him as the nation's No. 33 defensive tackle and the 75th best overall prospect in Texas. He was a consensus 4-star recruit coming out in his senior year. He originally committed to Baylor before flipping his commitment to Texas.
Murphy wasted no time once he got to Austin, and was named honorable mention Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He played in 12 games, making 1 start and he registered 15 tackles and 2 sacks for the Longhorns.
He became a regular part of the Texas defensive line rotation in 2022, playing in 13 games, starting 1 and totaling 26 tackles and 1 sack on the season. This year, he has taken his game to the next level, starting 13 games and tallying 26 tackles, while setting a career high with 5 sacks and 8 tackles for a loss. He accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Murphy has a non-stop motor and uses his instincts and vision to find the ball right off the snap. He has excellent leverage coming out of his 3-point stance and uses his strong hands to shed blockers and get to the ball carrier or quarterback. He’s a strong pass rusher up the middle and gets consistent penetration through the inside gaps. He has lined up and held his own on the edges and does an efficient job of moving the play inside. Murphy has a compact build and has a strong lower half that allows him to anchor in and hard to move.
On the downside, he plays too much north and south and needs to improve his agility and his sideline to sideline movement. He does a good job of getting to the backfield but lacks the chase speed to finish a lot of plays. At times, he can get lazy with his hands and does too much dancing with blockers instead of shedding them and moving on. He may want to consider learning a spin move or some misdirection movies when he enters the NFL. His pass rush is very straightforward and he will have a harder time just beating NFL offensive linemen on power alone.
Byron Murphy’s play is reminiscent of D.J. Jones who was a 6th round pick out of Ole Miss in 2017. Jones was limited on the edge but was a monster in the middle for the Rebels. He was drafted at 319 lbs. but has since slimmed down to 306 lbs. and has been a formidable run stopper in the NFL. Jones has 9 career sacks and Draft 412 thinks Murphy will start off as a run stopper with a higher ceiling as a pass rusher than what Jones has shown.
Lack of pass rushing moves
Shedding blocks too slow
Agility... no east to west
Byron Murphy II has already accepted his Reese’s Senior Bowl invitation and can improve his mid-round draft stock with a big showing. He is in the top 10 of defensive tackles in the draft and is a solid 4th round pick for a team looking to get younger on the d-line.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 4th round or 5th round