Prospect Preview: Trent Murphy OLB/DE Stanford

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By Draft Lead Philip Arnold @PhilipArnold20

Trent Murphy 3-4 OLB/DE

6-6 261 lbs. Senior

56 Tackles, 18 TFL,10 Sacks, 1 INT, 6 QBH, 1 FF. Third Team All-American selection in 2012. Led the Cardinals defense in sacks and TFL in 2012. Started all 14 games in the 2012 season.

Game Notes vs. Washington 7 Tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT

  • Murphy is versatile and used in many ways along the Stanford defensive front. 18 of 32 plays were evaluated as a stand up defensive end while the other 14 were with his hand down. 13 plays at the strong side and 19 at the weak side.
  • Against the run: Murphy shows good strength at the point of attack to control blockers. He uses good leverage to punch, extended and then shed blockers once they’re off balance. Once he is engaged with the linemen of Washington he uses his hands to shed and throw. Though Murphy is able to control blockers and shed quickly, he rarely gets a push and makes a few plays passed the line of scrimmage, instead of the backfield. On counter plays, Murphy does a good job of coming flat down the backs of the OL and keeping contain, forcing the ball carrier to bounce back inside.
  • Pass Rush: Murphy’s best success as a pass rusher came in his speed rush when he came quick off the ball. Murphy was a bit slow off the ball at times and struggled with his timing to get to the quarterback. He used his speed rush to bend passed Tackles and Running backs who stepped up. Once in the range of Quarterback Keith Price, Murphy struggled with coming to balance and containing Price. He whiffed on a few sacks after Price felt his presence and made a move to the outside to continue the play. Though Murphy showed his strength against the run, he struggled to transfer it into his bull rush. Washington used Tight End Austin Seferian-Jenkins to help in blocking schemes and stopped it quite easily.
  • Coverage: Murphy was only shown dropping into coverage once. Washington came out in an empty set and Murphy was slow to react on a crossing route by Seferian-Jenkins, allowing too much separation.
  • Play that stood out: 1 down and 10 to go with three minutes remaining in the third quarter. At this point of the game Stanford was leading 6-3 and both offenses were struggling to get anything going. Washington will run a designed RB flare screen. Right Tackle Mike Criste, will be responsible for cutting Murphy, but as Criste gets into his cut Murphy does a great job with his hands and footwork to recognize and defeat it. As Murphy is aware Price is beginning his throwing motion, he gets into the passing lane. Once the ball has left Price’s hand, Murphy displays his length (6′-6″) to jump up and intercept the pass. Murphy then returns the pass for a touchdown and giving Stanford a huge momentum shift heading into the fourth quarter.

Game Notes vs. Oregon 4 Tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PBU, 2 Sacks

  • Once again Murphy is used many ways along the Stanford defensive front, while he is also used in more coverage and not always on the line of scrimmage. Murphy was used as a stand-up defensive end/OLB 25 times and he had his hand in the dirt 17 times. He played 13 of 42 plays to the strong side and 29 as a weak side defender. ‘
  • Against the run: Murphy showed his best way to defeat offenders was with his punch and shed. He had active hands and does a good job of controlling the offensive lineman to find the football. Like the Washington game, Murphy rarely get any penetration once he is engaged. Once Murphy is extended he gets no penetration into the backfield and waits for the ball carrier to make a move. In this game Murphy did a good job of setting the edge and fighting across reach blocks on outside zone plays.
  • Pass Rush: Once again Murphy really struggled once he was in the pocket of coming to balance and making a play on the Quarterback. Murphy at one point had an easy sack on Marcus Mariota but was not balanced and his change in direction looked slow. Murphy showed off a better bull rush during this game as it was more succesful than his speed rush. He had good leverage and used his strength better, collapsing the pocket for Mariota. In his speed rush, Murphy struggled to bend the edge and was forced too far up field and out of the pocket. Once Mariota broke out of the pocket, Murphy struggled with contain and lacked closing speed to catch up with Mariota.
  • Coverage: Murphy was used a bit more in coverage during this game to help counter the multiple sets from Oregon. He did a good job of recognizing releases from Tight End Colt Lyerla, getting a chip and dropping off with him taking away quick releases. In schemes where Murphy was forced to drop off into deeper coverage wasn’t that impressive. Murphy is high in his drops with no bend. He was completely caught with his back turned to the quarterback and lost all sight of the play.
  • Play that stood out: 3 down and 11 to go. Murphy has his hand in the dirt and will bull rush the Right Tackle. Murphy comes up field as if he will go into his speed rush, but once the Tackle works to stop it he turns it into a bull rush. He displays good leverage and strength to collapse the Right Tackle into the pocket and pushes him all the back into Mariota, causing a sack.

What Murphy does well

Murphy is versatile and used many ways across the defensive front of Stanford. Murphy has great length and uses his size well. Against the run, Murphy is strong at the point of attack and good at reading the play. He uses his length to punch and extend, not allowing blockers to get into is pads and keeps him free to shed. Murphy is active with his hands to shed and throw blockers off of him displaying his strength. He is able to set the edge and force plays to hit back inside of him. In his pass rush Murphy has shown both a speed rush and bull rush. He has displayed both strength and athleticism to bend the end or collapse the pocket of the quarterback. Murphy does a good job of using his length to get into passing lanes while dropping off in coverage.

What Murphy needs to improve

Against the run Murphy is active and reads well, but rarely causes penetration and makes plays that could have been made in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage, a couple yards down field. In his pass rush comes inconsistencies. Murphy doesn’t come off the ball as quickly as the elite pass rushers in this group and doesn’t have that explosive first step. In his speed rush, Murphy lacks a consistent bend of the edge and works himself out of the pocket. When he counters with his bull rush, too many times does he gain no ground and is stood up easily. At the quarterback, Murphy can miss easy sacks and plays due to being off balance and poor change of direction. He seems “lost” or unaware once the quarterback drops the ball to make a play with his feet. The biggest reason he is caught off balance and lacks elite change of direction is due to his large frame and size. He is often caught standing straight up or not in an athletic stance once he is passed a wave of blockers.

Top Matchups

9/21 vs. Arizona State

10/05 vs. Washington

10/19 vs. UCLA

11/07 vs. Oregon

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