Givanni Damico | November 25th, 2019
Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma #9
Weight: 243 LBs
Games I’ve watched: at Texas (2019), vs. Texas Tech (2019), vs. Houston (2019)
Kenneth Murray is a very patient, productive player. He is very athletic, flashing sideline-to-sideline speed, but he lacks play strength. His motor and intelligence speaks for itself, though.
I grade on a 100-point scale being distributed ten ways with ten different criteria. For inside linebackers, these criteria include: Frame, Speed, Strength, Processing, Block Shedding, Tackling, Pursuit, Coverage, Versus the Run, Blitz
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9.5/10 Murray is the prototypical size for a middle linebacker. He’s lean, but strong enough, and he has fantastic athletic ability.
9.5/10 This man is fast. Sideline to sideline, the guy is as fast as most of the guys he’s covering.
7.5/10 As I said earlier, Murray is strong enough. He doesn’t do anything special, though. He makes some nice plays to get to the quarterback, but he finds himself getting beat one-on-one by linemen the majority of the time.
8/10 Murray seems to always know what’s going through the opposing quarterback’s head. He makes great reads and picks up on the play the majority of the time. Although this can be the case, Murray can also be considered a “reactionary” player at times. Instead of anticipating, he reacts. He has definitely improved on this since 2018, but he still needs to get better at anticipating the play.
6.5/10 Looking at sack totals can be deceiving when judging a linebacker’s block-shedding ability. He’s very hit or miss here. At times, he shows excellent bend to get around the offensive tackle and get to the ballcarrier, but he gets locked onto his blocker more times than not. He finds himself using two hands more often than he should and struggles to detach from these blocks to make an impact.
7.5/10 Murray makes the majority of the plays, but his technique isn’t completely sound. At times, he just throws his body at the ballcarrier which leads to missed tackles.
8/10 Because of his long speed, Murray is able to pursue players from behind and make plays. Although when he faces any sort of adversity in the form of blockers or just guys in his path, he gives up on the play. This is all to say that Murray absolutely has the ability to pursue the ballcarrier, but his lack of play strength is concerning.
7.5/10 Murray’s coverage ability still needs development. Because of his reactionary playing style, he can be late to attacking the ball in the air which allows the receiver to make a play on the ball. He just seems to be one step behind the receiver at all times which needs to change. His lack of awareness is something that can be developed, but this is a focal point of his struggles for the time being.
Versus The Run
6.5/10 Murray struggles to shoot the gap because he attempts to avoid contact. This often results in a few extra yards being gained by the ballcarrier which may not seem like a lot, but it can be monumental in big situations. He needs to up his physicality and be willing to take on a big man up front and shed blocks to make big plays against the run.
8/10 He is an explosive blitzer whose speed allows him to beat the opposing offensive linemen. He doesn’t have tremendous technique, rather using his pure speed and athleticism to beat the blockers. He shows pretty good bend to get to the quarterback and at least cause pressure. His technique could definitely use some development to make him a more refined pass-rusher.
78.5/100 Kenneth Murray is a very athletic linebacker who has the physical capabilities of being a successful NFL linebacker. His play strength and lack of awareness concern me. He needs to do a better job fighting through blocks in order to make a play rather than getting locked up and unable to detach from blocks. His coverage ability needs development. He has to do better anticipating what the offense does, rather than reacting to it.
Round Grade: Late First-Mid Second Round
Projected Draft Position: Mid-Late Second Round
Pro Comparison: Jaylon Smith
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images