Strength 1: Awareness
What jumps out to you immediately when watching Murphy’s highlight tapes is his overall awareness. Wherever the ball is Murphy is right there and seems to know exactly what to do Watch from the 0:21-0:50 mark.
On the first play Murphy times a perfectly clean hit on the receiver. He has a perfect sense of when the ball is going to arrive to the receiver and times the hit to perfection. With the second play, Murphy could have easily given up on the play as it looked like the receiver was going to make the catch. Instead, he stays with his man keeps his eyes on the ball and is there to catch the ball and take it to the house when the receiver drops the ball.
His sense of awareness and maturity as a football player is off the charts.
Strength 2: Tackling
To anyone who thinks they will be able to run by Byron Murphy in the open field good luck. Murphy is as good a tackler as anyone in this draft class from any position.
Whether it be in the open field, chasing down a defender, or making a hit to prevent a receiver from making a catch Murphy will make the play.
Flip to the 1:47 mark. The quarterback hits his running back in stride thinking he had set up the screen for the first down. Out of nowhere, Murphy comes in with a beautiful open field tackle with enough strength to pop the ball free resulting in a turnover.
The tremendous tackling goes hand in hand with Murphy’s above average awareness which makes for an outstanding combination.
Strength 3: Ability to break-up passes
Murphy has what anyone wants in a cornerback: a God-given ability to break-up passes.
No matter who the ball is thrown to whether it’s a throw to the wideout in man coverage, a slot receiver with the defense playing zone or a running back out of the backfield Murphy can beat them to the ball or knock the ball out of mid-air to break-up the play.
Flip to the 2:10 mark. Murphy actually falls behind the receiver which is uncommon for him. However, he uses his awareness and great ability to break up passes by going over the top the receiver to knock the ball down.
Not only did he knock the pass down he did it without any illegal contact. Murphy has the ability to knock down any pass anywhere. That’s going to boost his draft stock.