2020 NFL draft profile: Kenneth Murray would be worth a mindset change


There is no doubt a gaping hole at linebacker on the Eagles roster, and when they're on the clock, the best player left on the board could very well could be Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray. Would they actually pull the trigger on a position that they've devalued significantly? It would be worth it for Murray. He's got the tape, tools, and makeup that all 32 teams should be looking for in a first-rounder. 

As a junior last season, Murray earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. He’s a three year starter who racked up over 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons playing inside. Murray might project more as an outside linebacker at the NFL level, but either way, he'll be on the field for every down. 

At 6-foot-2, 241 pounds, Murray has the ideal size for the position and the athleticism to match. He posted some of the best numbers at the combine for his position in the 40 (4.52 seconds), the broad jump (129 inches) and the vertical jump (38 inches).  

Murray served as a team captain in both his sophomore and junior seasons. The son of a pastor, he literally saved a motorist’s life last year by performing CPR. Simply put, his character is off the charts. 

Current roster at LB: After letting Nigel Bradham (unsigned) and Kamu Grugier-Hill (Dolphins) flee the nest, the cupboard at this position is extremely bare. The Eagles have swung and missed on bargain basement linebackers like Corey Nelson and Zach Brown in each of the last two offseasons. They hope that changes with Jatavis Brown, though he isn't exactly starter material. Ditto for Nate Gerry, who has a some play-making juice but lacks the bulk to be a factor on every down. The Birds are expecting big things from T.J. Edwards in his second season out of Wisconsin, but relying on an undrafted player who didn't exactly flash when his role expanded late last season is a gamble. After that it's just special teamers Duke Riley and Alex Singleton

How he would fit: Murray would be a Day 1 starter. While fans clamor for a receiver in the first round, the track record for how that position transitions to the next level is hit or miss. Murray's sideline-to-sideline speed would offer a much more immediate impact for the Eagles in 2020. A natural leader, he called the defense for three seasons in Norman and could continue that at the next level.

Eagles history at drafting LB: The past indicates there's almost no shot they'll draft a linebacker in the first round. The Eagles haven't done so since they used the 21st pick (how ironic) on Jerry Robinson in 1979. In fact, they rarely use premium draft capital on the position. The only two times they've done so in the last decade have been hits, though. Both Mychal Kendricks (2nd round in 2012) and Jordan Hicks (3rd round in 2015) played prominent roles here in Philly and remain productive starters in the NFL. Kendricks had three sacks and a pick in 14 starts for the Seahawks last season while Hicks finished 3rd in the league in tackles for the Cardinals. 

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