by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of UCLA 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 - UCLA, Edge, Gabriel Murphy
Name- Gabriel Murphy
Pos- Defensive Tackle
HT/WT- 6’3” 260 lbs.
Home – Dallas, TX
Gabriel Murphy attended Bishop Lynch High School in Texas. He was a consensus 3-star recruit and ranked the No. 114 linebacker in the nation. As a senior, he had 89 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks. He was not heavily recruited and decided to stay close to home and play at North Texas.
Murphy redshirted his first year at North Texas after appearing in just 4 games and collecting 2 tackles. He did force a fumble in his limited action though.
In 2020, he appeared in 7 games, making 2 starts at defensive end. He was very efficient in his limited time, picking up 18 tackles and 4.5 sacks for the Mean Green. In 2021, Murphy exploded onto the scene starting in all 13 games and accumulating 52 tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He was named second team All-Conference USA. After the season, Murphy entered the transfer portal and elected to continue playing football at UCLA.
Last season, his debut at UCLA went well, as he started all 13 games and finished the season with 38 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
This season, Murphy has found the mojo he showed in 2021 with North Texas and in his 11 starts for the Bruins, he has 31 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. He has been a game changer off the edge for UCLA, spending a ton of time in the opponent's backfield.
Murphy has a remarkable combination of power and quickness off the snap, which helps get the upper hand early in his one on one battles. He is very effective in the way he uses his hands to battle blockers one-on-one and has the power to push off or to push aside blockers. Off the snap, he anticipates well and is athletic enough to keep himself in pursuit. He plays with a good wide base and is hard for offensive linemen to win the leverage battle against.
However, he can be a bit stiff at times and if a team tries to move him to a 3-4 OLB role, it may not work out. He is better at squaring up with the blockers and lacks the agility to beat linemen around the edge. Compared to many of the prospects at the edge position, Murphy has limited coverage experience and coupled with his problems getting around the edge, he may be fated to become an early down defensive end. He is a good tackler but needs to do more wrapping up and less grabbing, or else the larger, faster NFL backs will be a handful for him to bring down.
Gabriel Murphy reminds Draft 412 of Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy was a 2nd round pick out of BYU in 2014 and never established himself as a pure pass rusher. However, Van Noy became an effective edge player who does well against the run. Murphy won’t go as high as Van Noy, but he can definitely have the same type of NFL career as Van Noy has had. A player who is part of a defensive end rotation who can be moved around the line when needed. Murphy should be a contributing piece right away in the NFL.
Gabriel Murphy is not going to be a player you can count on for 10 plus sacks a year. He will be a player who will not hurt you on the edge and be a constant run stopper who will make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Draft 412 Projection- 5th round or 6th round