Tackling: Explosive athleticism and rocked up frame with big length illustrates a distinctly powerful and consistent tackler. Has a bit of a high wrap-up area because of his taller frame, but he can win wrapping around shoulder pads or the upper body with success. Good grip strength and strike power with his upper body to knock or wrench his opponent off his base, and can drag down with success given size/strength. Radius is large and his extra gear of burst helps him get into tackles on the edge others would miss.
Range: Delightful on the hoof. Has a great speed profile for a player of his density; good initial explosiveness with strong recognition ability on sideline and boundaries plays, and then a second gear to close the final angle and get to the contact point. Has some trouble gathering his final momentum and can be a runaway freight train at time.
Block Deconstruction: Odd struggles here. Will initiate contact with length and look to shock with aggressive hand placement, but doesn't maintain control over his opponent and rag doll or shuck with any consistency. Wins leverage but then maintains it and doesn't work to cross face in those moments that it makes sense. As such, gets stonewalled often and frequently finished as well as he tries to fight through power instead of using his hands to shed. Has good flexibility to slip blocks on the run and get his hips back into the line of scrimmage.
Toughness: Great contact balance in tight alleyways and does a great job surviving contact in the first level to keep his feet and get involved in the tackle. Effective when taking on kick out blocks and pullers and has good stopping power against backs and linemen alike. Willing to generate velocity into contact to deliver a strike and will finish aggressively when the opportunities arise.
Mental Processing: I really do think he sees things quick, even for some of the flabbergasting and exasperating moments on film. Clearly has a good instinct for flow and will get on his horse to beat opponents to their landmark on wide zone plays. Sifts through pullers and climbers nicely on complex looks with multiple offensive linemen on the move and regularly gets to the right area of the field, though over-pursuit is a common issue that must be addressed. Instinct not nearly as developed in space, especially in zone coverage, as it is when playing downhill.
Decision-making: Surprisingly tepid player who seems at times arrested by his own process. Regularly remains too deep off the line of scrimmage and fails to scrape close to his defensive linemen, leaving room for cutbacks, climbers, or otherwise offensive work to make him wrong in space. Will hesitate with an open gap square in front of his hips to shoot and look to scrape over the top to boundary tackles he has no chance of making. Does not maximize his length, physicality, or burst.
Short Area Quickness: Not a nimble player. Too upright, with a long stride length and a ton of momentum when he's on the move. Not an inflexible player, actually has a bit of looseness and swivel to his hips and can get sufficient hip sink when he's looking to redirect, though internal knee bend seems unhealthy. With that said, has to take multiple steps to gather and explode opposite. Has enough quickness to get into his zone drops or flip his hips in man coverage against tight ends, however, which is a big deal.
Man Cover Ability: Infrequently used in man coverage responsibilities but clearly has some translatable ability. Length and explosiveness helps him stay connected on tight end routes, but he's able to flip his hips and carry crossers opposite him given his athletic ability. Has no experience carrying routes downfield and cannot be trusted early to tag seam runners or wheels, though the potential is there. Concerning blitz rate in man coverage concepts indicates he's being hidden.
Zone Cover Ability: Solid zone coverage player in simple responsibilities at this time, but more will be needed from him in the league. Controlled and fluid in most of his drops, though he can get suckered in by backfield action/QB eyes and get happy feet, squaring himself to the line of scrimmage. Does not yet have good instincts for routes developing behind him and will unintentionally overlap with his teammates, exposing players in space. Struggles mightily to recover after play-action gets him into the backfield. Experience needed here.
Round Grade: Incomplete
Best Trait: Range
Worst Trait: Decision-Making
Player Comparison: Stephone Anthony
Summary: Kenneth Murray is a Day 2 linebacker prospect with a higher ceiling in a different scheme. Behind the slanting front of Alex Grinch and against complex, pulling Big 12 offenses, Murray struggled to generate a high impact play between the tackles, as he was frequently scraping and working to redirect his momentum into the backfield. Murray projects best to a 3-4 SILB or 4-3 SAM role, that allows him to play directly downhill into the trees and blow up blockers, while making strong plays into the boundary with his unique speed and length at his size. Murray is a high upside prospect if deployed correctly, and is a candidate for Year 2 starting responsibilities if he improves his zone coverage drops.