2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Washington CB Byron Murphy Jr.

HEIGHT: 5-11

WEIGHT: 182

COLLEGE: Washington

CLASS: Redshirt sophomore

2018 STATS: 58 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 13 passes defended, 1 forced fumble (14 games)

CAREER STATS: 74 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 6 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 20 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles (20 games)

GAMES WATCHED (9): Utah, Arizona State, Auburn, Oregon, Utah/Pac-12 CG, Ohio State (2018); Rutgers, Washington State, Penn State (2017)

40 BENCH VERT BROAD 3 CONE 20S 60S

COVER SKILLS (29/30)

  • Excellent overall coverage ability — great in zone and off-man; good in press
  • Great at staying in-phase with receivers at all levels of the field — very sticky in man coverage
  • Excellent in zone coverage due to superior instincts, route recognition and explosiveness
  • Lacks the necessary play strength to be a dominant press cornerback
  • Allowed just 25 receptions on 48 targets during the 2018 regular season (PFF), despite playing in a zone-heavy Cover 1/Cover 3 scheme

AGILITY/TECHNIQUE (19/20)

  • Quick and fluid hips to turn and run with receivers
  • Elite foot quickness; smooth and efficient backpedal; no wasted steps/unnecessary movement
  • Very good with mirror-and-match footwork off the line; stays patient and doesn’t open hips too early
  • Patient in press — good jam timing and accuracy with strikes
  • Does a good job of crowding receivers down the field and limiting their route running/route adjustment space; utilizes sideline as an extra defender

SPEED/BURST (13.5/15)

  • Very good recovery speed to make up ground if he allows separation off the line or separation down the field
  • Very good click-and-close ability out of backpedal

MENTAL PROCESSING (15/15)

  • Zone instincts are outstanding — quick breaks on the ball; keeps eyes on quarterback and keys on intentions while maintaining awareness of receiver’s position
  • Good feel for when to pass off receivers and when to pick up receivers that cross into his zone
  • Pattern recognition is phenomenal — does a great job of feeling/anticipating route breaks, allows very little separation as a result
  • Good ball-tracking downfield; gets head around early to locate the football

BALL SKILLS/PLAYMAKING (10/10)

  • Excellent ball skills — 4 ints and 13 PBUs on the year
  • Very good at playing the ball through receivers’ hands
  • Wide receiver background shows through natural hands and route recognition
  • Times jumps well and high points the football consistently
  • High vertical allows him to contest jump balls

RUN SUPPORT/TACKLING (3/5)

  • Aggressive in run support — not afraid to fly downhill and make a tackle
  • Shiftiness to avoid blockers in run support
  • Has forced fumbles and incompletions with surprising hit power
  • Not a wrap-up tackler — dives at ankles frequently

SIZE/PHYSICAL TRAITS (4/5)

  • Adequate height/length for the position
  • Lean frame — may need to add bulk to match up with bigger outside receivers in the NFL
  • Lack of size/play strength could limit him as an outside press CB
  • Can handle nickel and outside cornerback duties because of size/athleticism/physicality

RED FLAGS

  • Missed seven games with a broken foot in 2017
  • No known character concerns

NFL COMPARISON: Joe Haden

SCHEME FIT: scheme-versatile

FILM GRADE: 93.50/100.00 — TOP 10 — perennial Pro Bowler with All-Pro potential

DRAFT PROJECTION: Top-15

“Byron Murphy is one of the best cornerback prospects I’ve scouted over the past six years. His coverage ability from a snap-to-snap consistency standpoint is probably the best I’ve seen since I started evaluating draft prospects back in 2014. His ball skills, route recognition and coverage instincts are exceptional. He is an excellent athlete with good speed, great change-of-direction and elite short-area quickness. His ability to excel in press, zone and off-man coverage should make him a plug-and-play starter for any NFL team, regardless of scheme. With a few years of development, Murphy can develop into a premier, All-Pro caliber cornerback.” – Dan Wussow

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