#23 Byron Murphy, Cornerback, Washington
Former All-American cornerback Byron Murphy, lands at spot 23 in the Raider Ramble Draft Top 32 in 32. At 5’11” and 182 pounds, Murphy doesn’t have ideal NFL size, but his speed and athleticism make up for his shortcomings (no pun intended). In 20 career games at Washington, he managed to have six interceptions and averaged 15.8 yards per return. his athleticism and ball skills are what make him a potential first-round pick.
Murphy is better in zone coverage, but excels in man coverage as well. He is able to shadow receivers and anticipate their next move. While Murphy gives quite a bit of cushion to offensive players, he has the speed to close the separation quickly. This helps him bait quarterbacks into throws and force incompletions or get interceptions because of how athletic he is. His biggest flaw stems from his lack of height and strength. He struggles to press receivers and isn’t strong enough to play physically. This could make it difficult for him to alter receivers’ routes. To make up for it, he possesses great hips that allow him to force redirect receivers to the sideline and alter their route. He would be a great value pick for any team picking in the early to mid 20s.
Fit for the Raiders
Murphy should absolutely be on the Raiders’ radar with picks 24 and 27. He would be a perfect fit in Paul Gunther’s system since Murphy excels in zone coverage. Pairing Murphy and Gareon Conley would give Oakland two young corners they can build their defense around.
Murphy won’t help the Twitter rivalry that currently exists between Raiders and Steelers fans as Pittsburgh is in need of a corner and he will likely be the best one available. Oakland’s secondary has come a long way since 2017, but like just about every position group, there still is room for improvement and Murphy would be a wise investment for the Raiders. The Eagles dealt with a bunch of injuries in their secondary last season and that resulted in them ranking 30th in passing yards allowed. Needless to say, Philadelphia should look to add depth in the secondary.