AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28: Kedon Slovis #10 of the Brigham Young Cougars looks to pass under pressure by Byron Murphy II #90 of the Texas Longhorns in the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 28: Kedon Slovis #10 of the Brigham Young Cougars looks to pass under pressure by Byron Murphy II #90 of the Texas Longhorns in the first half at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on October 28, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Byron Murphy II Pushes The Pocket

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HOUSTON, TEXAS – OCTOBER 21: Byron Murphy II #90 of the Texas Longhorns and Kitan Crawford #21 take the field before the game against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium on October 21, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II is built to disrupt the pocket and that is what today’s NFL is all about.

With 32/32 NFL teams passing more than 50% of the time (teamrankings.com), this is a pass-happy league that comes down to two things ⎯passing the ball and stopping the pass.

While most of the defensive pressure in the pocket comes from the edge rushers, defensive tackles who can push the pocket from the interior are indeed a premium.

That’s this guy.

Murphy rushing the passer…

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: Michael Penix Jr. #9 of the Washington Huskies throws a pass under pressure by Byron Murphy II #90 of the Texas Longhorns in the second half during the Valero Alamo Bowl at Alamodome on December 29, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

This Longhorns’ defender scratches, claws, and kicks (so to speak) trying to get to the quarterback. He gives opposing offensive linemen one heck of a fight.

Murphy brings it

He has this compact wide and naturally strong athletic frame and a low center of gravity coming off the ball. Murphy plays with great leverage and because of this, he tends to draw a good number of double teams, which helps to free up other defenders.

Murphy draws a lot of attention

He started 14 games this past season according to his school’s website, and one game in 2022.

Murphy is always working upfield and he cracks the pocket open like an egg.

This Texas defensive tackle likes to shoot and press gaps hard, but he can also bull rush and put offensive linemen on skates right back into the quarterback’s face. He’s a brute who loves to throw his weight around.

He crashes in hard

Murphy produced five sacks in 2023. Per Pro Football Focus, he participated in 273 pass-rushing plays and logged three hits and 36 hurries. It was reported, that Murphy had a 19.6% win rate, which is exactly the way it looked on game film.

That means he is winning about 1/5 snaps. Yeah, that’s a difference-maker.

Complete defensive tackle

Stopping the run is important to Murphy. He plays the run like it’s personal.

He has the pure strength to extend and lock out his arms against blockers and make solid crushing tackles that he puts all of himself into.

Murphy can hunker down and hold his ground.

How does he factor in?

He will wear out opposing offensive linemen.

He’s a guy who can come in and raise everyone’s level of play around him because he gives it everything he has to give.

The more I watch him on game film, the more convinced of it I become.

#90 Byron Murphy II 6-foot-1, 308 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: First-Round (I would select him)

Projected by 51.4% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of March 31, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

2022 game film reviewed: Texas Tech (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

2023 game film reviewed: Oklahoma, Houston, Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State and Wyoming

Murphy Combine Results

2023 stats: 29 tackles, (13 solo) and 16 assists

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Prospect with a naturally strong thick build who hustles. He has equally distributed body mass and strength. Powerful thick legs. Frame should only become stronger with weight training (softer upper body type baby fat). Room to grow and firm up. Tough. Physical. Built like an oversized 4-3 defensive end. Fluid dynamic movements. Flexible. Disciplined. Possesses active and violent hands, but is somewhat unpolished as a pass rusher, which can get him bogged down and stalemated at times. Flashed swim and rip moves. Fairly unpredictable. Builds speed with momentum. One gear speed. No short-area burst. Average pocket adjustments. Capable of splitting double teams. Loves to play bumper cars with the big boys in the run game. Will also hunt and chase down. Occasionally struggles to disengage. Some inconsistency. Gets visibly fired up.

Final words

Murphy makes the pocket uncomfortable feeling for quarterbacks.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. Follow on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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