Final notes, thoughts, tidbits
Getting Byron Murphy at pick No. 33 is a steal by all means. He’s not a generational talent, but he’s a well-rounded player that, when used right, can be one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. However, it may take some time.
Murphy should start immediately for the Cardinals, but not on the outside. Vance Joseph tends to run a press coverage scheme, which may not bode well for the young cornerback against bigger, faster, receivers. He simply doesn’t have the long-speed or size to press the bigger, faster, stronger, and quicker receivers that play on the outside in the NFL. His shoddy footwork in man doesn’t make up for that either.
Instead, I expect Murphy to start in the inside as a slot defender; a significant team need for the Cardinals. He’s an exceptional athlete in terms of short area quickness and has the tenacity to be a difference maker over the middle of the field (but you’d like to see him disengage blocks better against the run). Murphy’s ability to read quarterback’s eyes, and win with technique in the press over less skilled or smaller receivers will be a godsend for the Cardinals defense.
Ultimately, Murphy has a lot of strengths. A lot. Although his footwork can be improved in the press, his heavy hands, physicality, and instincts are all pluses in this area. He’s a solid man corner if he isn’t beat, but is best in a zone. Again, his burst, awareness, and ball skills will mean that he’s a menace in this area.
If Murphy can improve his footwork, he could be the heir apparent to Patrick Peterson or his heroic sidekick.
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