LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma*

6’2” – 243 lbs.

Started all fourteen games as a freshman, ending up with 77-7.5-1.0, then followed that up with a monstrous sophomore campaign – 155-12.5-4.5. Posted a line of 102-17.0-4.0 as a junior, then declared for the draft. Very productive three-year starter who’s adequately built for a pro linebacker. Takes snaps both inside and outside; could reasonably project to either weakside linebacker, middle linebacker, or weak inside linebacker at the next level. Plays with excellent instincts and a lot of quickness and energy. Does a good job of reading keys and shuffling to the appropriate gap in order to stuff running backs; uses his quickness well to work his way around opposing blockers without unnecessary contact. Once he finds a clear lane to the ballcarrier, closes quickly; racked up a ton of tackles for loss by blowing through gaps and slinging down runners, and can also pick up sacks in the same way when working as a quarterback spy. Great speed makes him a true sideline-to-sideline player who can hunt down ballcarriers in backside pursuit. Length gives him a wide tackling radius; more likely to sling down runners than to deliver big hits. Has smooth change-of-direction skills to transition from closing on a spot toward pursuing laterally; however, can get a little bit too aggressive and take himself out of position at times by coming in hot. Can struggle to hold his ground against opposing offensive linemen when successfully engaged. Was often used as a downhill player or spy on the passing game; didn’t see him handling many deep zones or man-coverage duties. Played on a very aggressive defensive front and while he doesn’t have a deep repertoire of rush moves on tape, looks skilled at locating open lanes to the passer in order to generate pressure, with the closing speed to finish with sacks. Also has some ability to sniff out screens developing, with the motor to chase them toward the sideline. Has plenty of athleticism to spot-drop in zone. However, can occasionally creep up too close, losing track of opponents behind him; would like to see him get a little bit more depth, keep targets in front of him, and use his plant-and-drive skills to deliver well-timed hits. Wasn’t asked to carry many running backs out of the backfield or play man coverage on tight ends but has the tools to do so. One of the most exciting, fastest defenders in this year’s draft class, he can get a little bit too aggressive at times but his ability to flow to the ball is easily good enough to land him a spot in the first round.

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