Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington.
If you heard these words out of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s mouth on April 25th, would you cheer or boo?
Texans fans looking to solve the nagging problems on the offensive line will be disappointed when reading Mel Kiper Jr.’s 2019 NFL mock draft (Version 1.0). In the first edition of his predictions, Kiper Jr. has Houston opting for the 21 year-old corner who dominated the Pac-12 last season.
Before you start hyperventilating at the concept of not taking an offensive lineman in the first round, Kiper does convey that the Texans desperately need an o-line help and that he wouldn't be surprised if the Texans go in that direction.
In this edition of Kiper’s mock draft, Murphy is the third corner off the board. Not bad for picking 23rd in a defense-laden draft. If the Texans were to select an offensive lineman at No. 23, it would be the fifth one in the first round (the previous picks are listed below). The selection of Murphy here makes sense in terms of value in the first round.
Jonah Williams, Alabama (5)
Cody Ford, Oklahoma (7)
Jawaan Taylor, Florida (11)
Greg Little, Ole Miss (17)
If you watch Murphy’s highlight reel above, you’ll notice that the dude can lay the wood. He is a zone coverage corner who can break on the ball at an elite level. His greatest trait is his vision, and he has a knack for making plays when the ball is in the air. He may not be the most elite coverage corner in the draft—a title I will bestow upon Deandre Baker—but Murphy is probably the most fierce and fluid corner in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Impressive rep from Washington corner Byron Murphy pic.twitter.com/RlSWm3qi0y— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) December 12, 2018
Listed at 5-11, 182 pounds, Murphy is not the biggest physical specimen. He may find a home on the inside as a nickel corner where he can assist in the run defense more. If he lands with the Texans, he will most likely have to play on the outside due to the need for his skill set.
One thing to note about Murphy is his experience. Murphy only has one year of significant starting production because he was a part of a 2017 secondary that featured three second round draft picks and one seventh rounder. On top of that, he was a redshirt sophomore and is turning pro at the age of 21. His stock is sky-high right now, so entering the draft at such a young age does make sense, but if he did wait another year, he would be slated to be the number one corner entering the 2020 NFL Draft.
Other SB Nation sites agree with Kiper’s high praise and first round prediction of Murphy. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ site (Behind the Steel Curtain) called him “a true #1 CB and a perennial Pro Bowler and one of the best CBs in the league”. The New York Jets’ site (Gang Green Nation) promises that “Byron Murphy is one of those kids you just know is going to be special”.
If those claims do come true and the Texans take him in the first round, I don’t think many people will be complaining about not taking a tackle at No. 23. From everything I have read and watched, the First-Team All Pac-12 corner would be a great addition to the Texans secondary.
Is it me or does Byron Murphy sound like a player who will be a Texan? I’ve got one of those feelings that maybe Mel was right in this mock. We will see in the coming weeks and NFL Combine if Kiper sticks with his pick and whether Murphy lives up to the first round grade.