The 2023 NFL Draft is relatively light on blue-chip talent, but one prospect on the cusp of that tier is Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy. Even after three years as an impact starter for the Tigers, it feels like Murphy hasn’t come close to hitting his ceiling yet. How does he project to the NFL, and what kind of player can he be at his maximum potential?
Myles Murphy NFL Draft Profile
- Position: EDGE
- School: Clemson
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’5″, 258 pounds
- Length: 33 3/4″
- Hand: 8 1/2″
At Clemson, Murphy is a construction science and management major and has long-term aspirations to become an architect. As a matter of fact, he already has pre-existing experience as an architect — just not of buildings, streets, or walkways. For his entire football career, Murphy has been an architect of defensive dominance. That’s an impact he carries to this day.
In high school, Murphy accumulated 17.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss in his final two seasons. He was a consensus five-star recruit in the 2020 class and the seventh overall player on 247 Sports‘ board. Interestingly enough, he was just six spots behind his future teammate and the No. 1 overall prospect, Bryan Bresee.
Both Bresee and Murphy joined the Clemson Tigers out of high school, and together, they generated immediate production across the 2020 campaign. As a true freshman, Murphy put up 37 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and three forced fumbles. The following season, he took things a step further, producing 14.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, and two pass deflections.
Production has never been out of reach for Murphy, who added 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss to his career totals in 2022. But now, having declared for the NFL draft, this is his chance to become a dominant force on the NFL stage — not just a collegiate standout.
Myles Murphy Scouting Report
Murphy has produced everywhere he’s been, but draft evaluation doesn’t end at production. Does Murphy have the dual-sided talent and technical ability to be a first-round prospect? And how high can he rise in the early-round range?
If you want an edge rusher with tools, Murphy has them. At 6’5″ and almost 260 pounds, Murphy has an extremely strong, well-proportioned, compact frame with great length. And with that size, he’s an explosive athlete with a torrid first step. The Clemson EDGE can accelerate quickly into the backfield with powerful strides. At times, he shows off near-elite acceleration capacity for his size, particularly when he has a runway to quicken his feet.
Going further, Murphy can hit an intense second gear when he has an open lane to close on his target. He also has high-end lateral burst, which he can use to pressure angles off the snap. He’s a high-energy athlete at his size who can cover eye-catching amounts of ground with his lateral explosions. With his brand of athleticism, he’s extremely dangerous on stunts. He can use lateral twitch and burst to explode into gaps and exploit angles.
While Murphy’s athleticism is superb, his best trait might be his power. The Clemson EDGE has elite power capacity with his length, short-area burst, and frame density. His burst and length, in particular, allow for rare displacement potential. With his power capacity, Murphy can blast blockers back off the snap and pave open lanes.
Murphy generates consistent movement with his power, and his extensions are extremely forceful. On some reps, he instantly pinches the pocket and erases lanes to step up. Murphy’s power is extremely effective at knocking linemen off-base and opening up windows for successive moves. Additionally, Murphy can quickly reload, re-exert, and roll his hips to drive additional power forward.
Another function of Murphy’s frame is his high-level play strength. The Clemson product has superb hand and upper-body strength. He can wrench down extensions and break anchors with relentless swims and arm-over moves.
He uses his upper- and lower-body strength consistently to set the edge in run defense. Murphy can lock out his arms to gain control, then pry blockers away and open up space to make plays. He’s able to extend into his opponent’s torso and then rip down anchors with force.
Strength and power are defining parts of Murphy’s game, but the Tigers star also brings other tools to the table as a pass rusher. He flashes good ankle flexion and can corner around the edge while executing rip moves.
He’s able to pinch tight angles and compress the apex while applying targeted hand usage. He also has enough flexibility to redirect rushes and circle back inside as QBs step up. Moreover, Murphy has flashed the ability to roll his hips through the apex and sink effectively.
Execution is also a building area of strength for Murphy. As a pass rusher, Murphy visibly expanded his hand usage and counter arsenal as the 2021 season went on. He’s flashed the ability to stack combos across reps. He can use club-rips on top of bull rushes and execute cross-chops around the apex. Furthermore, Murphy is able to long-arm blockers and then club the outside hand violently and rip outside.
Murphy’s hand moves are fast, violent, and forceful, and they can be detailed as well. On swims, Murphy has shown he can complete moves by getting his inside arm back around and violently placing the ice pick in his opponent’s back. These details, while precise and minuscule, are crucial to the proper utilization of a pass-rush move.
It helps that Murphy can fairly naturally sink his pads and attain proper leverage. The Clemson EDGE can effectively sink under blocks to make plays in pursuit, and he plays with good lean. Moreover, Murphy can generate steady leg drive with a strong base and natural leverage acquisition. He often exerts power with proper leverage and channels burst into contact with good pad level.
Elsewhere, Murphy brings a ton of juice off the snap and plays with a consistently hot motor. He brings relentless energy when chasing down runners, and his unyielding energy in pursuit can help generate turnovers. Murphy has good pursuit speed in space and is a threat to catch runners from behind. In those situations, his length makes him a constant disruptive threat.
Finally, while Murphy shouldn’t be asked to play in coverage often, he has enough athleticism to drop into coverage and cover the flats.
Murphy’s Areas for Improvement
While Murphy’s hands are trending up, he still has room to improve there. The Clemson EDGE can better employ his hands to capitalize on lateral burst and displacement. He also has room for more consistency when multitasking and using his hands in conjunction with his physical gifts.
At times, Murphy’s hands are too wide on extensions, mitigating power generation. Additionally, he can be over-reliant on bull rushes and long-arms and can more consistently build off of his power generation. While he shows flashes of proper construction within his rush arsenal, he’s largely a power-dominant player at this point who will need to keep expanding his moves at the next level.
Going further, Murphy comes off the snap late at times and can improve his reaction quickness. He also lacks elite flexibility in his hips. His rushes sometimes die out at the apex, as he can’t consistently tuck below the corner and accelerate through. Murphy has good bend capacity for his size but isn’t elite in that category. Additionally, he doesn’t always show great change of direction in space. With his size, he can be a bit clunky.
Among other things, Murphy sometimes struggles to break anchors and gets locked up on the outside. His length is exceptional and a definite strength, but it’s not quite quantifiably elite. He can improve his leverage management, as he sometimes drifts up too high with his pad level and gives up leverage. At times, he also pops up too high off the snap and negates leverage early. And lastly, Murphy can be inconsistent in reading options and play fakes.
Current Draft Projection for Clemson EDGE Myles Murphy
Once viewed as a future first-round pick in his high school days, Murphy remains a Round 1 candidate in the 2023 NFL Draft. On my board, he grades as a top-10 prospect, one of the best EDGE prospects in the class, and a potential blue-chip addition to an NFL defense, with some added development.
Murphy isn’t quite in the blue-chip tier as a prospect, but he’s in the next level down. At his size, with his length and frame density, he brings impressive power capacity, and he knows how to apply it with proper leverage and energy loading. And with that size, Murphy is an incredible athlete, who brings near-elite explosiveness, linear movement speed, and violence with his hands.
Murphy’s ceiling is incredibly high, but a lack of elite change-of-direction and hip flexibility slightly lowers his ultimate cap. Additionally, while he has an excellent arsenal of power moves, he can still more consistently stack counters on top of power exertions. Particularly without elite hip flexibility, his margin for error will be smaller as a hand fighter in the NFL.
While those notes sound negative, Murphy is far from a liability with his agility and bend. He flashes enough bend to roll his hips through the apex, and he does have the lateral agility to offset tackles. And in run defense, the natural play strength afforded to him by his frame allows him to set the edge, prevent displacement, and engage in pursuit.
As a defensive end, Murphy projects best as a 5 and 7-technique who can play out of two, three, and four-point stances. But he also has the size and power to shade inside to 4i, as well as stunt on hybrid fronts. With his expansive allotment of tools, he can pressure a variety of angles and win in many different ways.
Murphy’s all-encompassing profile grants him some projected scheme versatility. At the end of the day, he’s a phenomenal physical talent with a rare combination of burst, athletic energy, power, and play strength. At his maximum projection, he can be a game-wrecker — not just on the edge but on the entire defensive line.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Myles Murphy
Strengths: Explosive college pass rusher who is also an outstanding athlete. Moves well in any direction, displays good change-of-direction ability, and quickly gets out to the flanks in pursuit of plays. Plays with balance as well as body control, fires off the snap with a quick first step, and shows a closing burst.
Plays with outstanding pad level, gets leverage on opponents, and displays a variety of moves to get off blocks. Gets a lot of momentum going upfield and can be a one-man wrecking crew. Agile, easily redirects to plays, and even gets depth on pass drops when asked to play in space.
Weaknesses: Lacks bulk and strength and gets controlled at the point. Easily ridden from his angle of attack. Has been a liability against the run.
Overall: Murphy made an immediate impact at Clemson as a freshman in 2020 then showed continued progress in his game. He’s an outstanding athlete and a disruptive force as a pass rusher with the ability to be used in a variety of roles. Murphy must add bulk to his frame and improve his playing strength, but he offers immediate starting potential at defensive end in a four-man line.
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