Clemson star edge rusher Myles Murphy has opted to forego the team’s Orange Bowl outing against Tennesee and declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Murphy’s decision shouldn’t come as too much surprise in that the 6-foot-5, 275-pound defensive end is seen as one of the top players on that side of the ball heading into the annual event in Kansas City.
The former five-star recruit out of Georiga is looking to join some recent former Clemson defensive linemen such as Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrene and Christian Wilkins in being a top-10 pick. At this point, there’s every reason to believe that will happen after Murphy’s three-year run with the Tigers.
- Myles Murphy stats (college): 116 tackles, 36 for loss, 18.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles
As a junior for Clemson in 2022, Murphy racked up 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. It was not as eye-opening as his performance as a sophomore. But the tape tells us a story of big-bodied edge that can absolutely get at it.
Likely limited more to traditional 4-3 defensive schemes, Murphy’s stock leading up to the NFL Draft will depend heavily on how teams view him. With that as a backdrop, here’s a look at four ideal landing spots for the talented defender this coming spring.
Related: 2023 NFL mock draft
Chicago Bears get defensive anchor in 2023 NFL Draft
Chicago would absolutely love to add more playmakers for Justin Fields in the 2023 NFL Draft. The young quarterback has improved leaps and bounds as a sophomore. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the skill-position weapons to succeed moving forward.
At issue here is the lack of perceived value in going that route atop the draft. Chicago is currently slated to select No. 2 overall. There’s no skill-position player worth anywhere near that type of selection.
Instead, the Bears address a major weakness on defense after trading away All-Pro performer Robert Quinn. They head into Week 15 dead last in the NFL with 16 sacks. In fact, rookie safety Jaquan Brisker leads that unit with a mere three QB take downs.
The idea of teaming Murphy up with stud youngsters such as Brisker and fellow defensive back Kyler Gordon has to be appealing for general manager Ryan Poles. Though, the ideal scenario would be able to land the edge rusher in a trade-down scenario.
Related: Sportsnaut’s NFL defense rankings
Philadelphia Eagles continue to build dominance group with Myles Murphy
At 11-1 this season, Philadelphis is in a beautiful situation. Not only is it the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl, the team has an additional first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft stemming from a trade with the hapless New Orleans Saints. Right now, said selection is slated to land at No. 5 overall.
Some might question Philadelphia going in this direction. It leads the league with 49 sacks. The Eagles exhausted the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft on defensive tackle Jordan Davis. Why add to an area of strength?
Well, it’s rather simple. Just imagine Murphy teaming up with the likes of Davis and Haason Reddick moving forward. It also must be noted that defensive linemen Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox are all impending free agents. Philly could use this selection on Murphy while also being able to find a fit at another area of need with its original first-round pick.
Related: Updated 2023 NFL Draft order
Arizona Cardinals finally find a defensive identity with Myles Murphy
There’s several backdrops to this. First off, we’re not 100% sure who will be calling the shots in Arizona this coming offseason. General manager Steve Keim should be out of a job following an ugly 4-9 start to the 2022 campaign. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is equally on the hot seat.
Assuming for a second that the Cardinals are building for 2024 and beyond following Kyler Murray’s devastating injury news, selecting someone like Murphy to anchor the defense long term would make the most sense. Arizona currently ranks 27th in sacks and dead last in points allowed. You really think that’s a coincidence?
Related: Ranking the top QBs in the 2023 NFL Draft
Houston Texans trade back up for star edge rusher
Already pretty much locked in with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there’s every reason to believe that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is headed to the Texans. The good news for Houston? It has another first-round pick from the Cleveland Browns stemming from the Deshaun Watson trade.
Sure Texans fans would love for their team to double down on offense. But the thought of adding Myles Murphy to a defense that includes stud young defensive backs Jalen Pitre and Derek Stingley Jr. might be too hard to pass up on. This would give the Texans three core building blocks on defense, a franchise quarterback on offense and a running back in Dameon Pierce who has showed out as a rookie. Not too shabby.