Man Coverage - Patience in his press-man technique. Ability to effortlessly change gears in order to remain on the upfield shoulder. Dictates vertical routes and never caught off-balance. Comfortability and patience allows him to slow-play his jams, and increases the probability that he gets his hands into the frame of the wide receiver. Jams are accurate, whether at the line of scrimmage or during the stem of the route. Avoids being grabby. Murphy’s isn’t necessarily the stickiest man coverage player, as he can allow separation on in-breaking routes too regularly. Doesn’t have natural make-up speed if he falls a step behind. While he is consistently in control of his movements and balanced, his reaction to those horizontal breaks aren’t explosive enough to stay glued to the route.
Zone Coverage - Instinctual, aware and active in zone coverage. Processes routes well and flawlessly passes off to the next zone when necessary. Proper spacing and patience necessary to be effective in multiple zone coverages. Played a lot in his half-turn, covering the deep third as apart of Washington’s cover 3 scheme. Had a lot of success in this area due to his transitions and breaks on the ball downhill. Flexibility in his hips and explosiveness allowed him to get out of his half-turn and attack underneath routes as if he was in a traditional backpedal. Rarely, if ever beaten over the top when given a deep-third responsibility. Quick reaction and location of the ball makes him conscious on deep crossers.
Ball Skills - Murphy is blessed with natural ball skills in all levels of the field. His click and close coming downhill is explosive, especially coming out of his half-turn. Tracks the football well and matches the hands of the wide receiver. Will break off of his zone responsibility when necessary. His body control allows for effortless adjustments with his upper and lower body, including along the boundary. Rarely will he fail to contest the catch point no matter the type of coverage. Because he tracks the ball like a wide receiver, he is aware of when to breakup the pass or when to attempt the interception, never taking unnecessary risks.
Athleticism/Change of Direction - Murphy has smooth, natural athleticism with body control. He’s a flexible, agile mover with above average explosiveness for the position. While I wouldn’t qualify him as a true burner in a straight line, he should test well enough in his 40-yard dash. Murphy finished the season playing at 176 pounds, but he isn’t built that frail. If he’s able to level off closer to 190 pounds for the NFL, that will be a fine weight for him to hold up strength-wise against larger receivers.
Tackling - Murphy is a solid enough tackler for the cornerback position, with flashes of true dominance in this area. When he has a clear window to attack downhill, he approaches with proper pad level and explosiveness. He’s forced fumbles and incompletions because of explosive hits on the receiver. Controlled aggressiveness as a tackler who operates with patience and effort. Has the habit to dip his head as a tackler, which is the leading cause of his missed opportunities. Better eyes and wrap, as well as the increased pre-draft strength, and he’ll become consistent in this area.
Run Support - Patient in his run support, aware of his fits and conscious to get into the right position. Takes few risks. Will occasionally be too patient and fail to immediately disengage from the block, which can get him driven off his spot.
Best Trait - Ball Skills
Worst Trait - Run Support
Red Flags - N/A
Murphy is an intriguing talent for the NFL and likely candidate for a 1st round grade. At Washington, he played primarily on the left side of the defense, but through a 5 game sample only allowed 8 receptions on 23 targets. He will fit into nearly any scheme at the next level, as he has experience playing multiple coverages while at Washington. Projects best as a primarily zone coverage cornerback, but he has developmental traits for man coverage as well. His well-rounded game is highlighted because of his elite ball skills, which led to 13 pass breakups and 4 interceptions in 2018. Murphy also showed prowess as a blitzer, able to disrupt the backfield in a hurry. Murphy is a high-effort player with a developing muscular frame, and has minimal height/length concerns. He projects as a CB1 for an NFL team and has a relatively high floor, with the ceiling of a top 15 player at the position in the entire league.
- Brad Kelly