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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Byron Murphy II

The Texas Longhorns had not one but two elite-level interior defensive linemen this season, and they have both declared for the draft. Byron Murphy will enter the league as an undersized yet surprising specimen of a Swiss army knife in the trenches. 

Where T’Vondre Sweat was a fifth-year senior, Byron Murphy will enter the draft as a true junior. In those three seasons with the Longhorns, Murphy accumulated nearly 40 games of experience across most of the defensive line. While many front offices will scoff at his shorter stature, they will be immediately impressed with his dominant abilities.

Player Bio 

Name: Byron Murphy

Jersey: No. 90

Position: Interior Defensive Lineman

School: University of Texas at Austin 

Class: Junior

Height: 6’0

Weight:  297lbs

Games Watched: Oklahoma (2022), Iowa State (2023), Baylor (2023), Rice (2023), Kansas State (2023), Alabama (2023), Washington (2024) 

Player Breakdown

Block Shedding (14/15)

Byron Murphy dispatches any would-be blockers by combining a great first step, a high motor, and good hands. There are moments where his hand placement isn’t precise, setting up a more challenging fight against the offensive line, and he tends to rely on athleticism over technique as he battles through each snap. 

Strength at the LOS (14/15)

Murphy’s leverage is on another level, one that most can’t compete with, and his height gives him the innate ability to be at pad level early in the down. The bull rush is probably his best technique, as he can push centers and guards alike into the quarterback.  Murphy also impresses as he slides into a gap, resists being pushed around, and finds the running back consistently.   

Pass Rush Ability (12/15)

Murphy only loses points in this category due to a lack of sacks over three seasons. However, his legitimate ability to collapse the pocket with one rusher up the middle and force the quarterbacks of the Big 12 to make poor decisions is some form of eloquent poetry. He may not impress on the stat sheet, but he will enable the front seven to make big-time plays in every game.

Consistency (9/15) 

Discipline is one of the most essential intangibles a football player can have, especially on the line.  Byron Murphy needs to bring more discipline to the table if he expects to be effective on Sundays.  He also lacks consistency with hand placement and follow-through at times.  Most of these shortcomings can be negated by his other skills; more importantly, these are coachable skills.  Given enough time and the right fit, these will be minor footnotes for his career.  

Push (10/10)

For a long time, physically imposing, tough players were the standard for the Texas Longhorns. While that has largely been forgotten in this new era of football, guys like Byron Murphy remind us all what it means to be a lineman in the trenches, fighting on every snap. Nearly every game I watched has perfect examples of Murphy’s ability to overpower an opponent, moving them clear to get to the backfield. He has beaten double teams, chips, and nearly anything thrown at him with physicality alone. Murphy will be a dominant force once he hones in on various techniques. 

Length Usage (6/10)

There is absolutely no getting around how undersized Murphy appears. He has small hands and a smaller frame, is severely short for his position grouping, and is underweight for some metrics. That being said, Murphy absolutely uses all of his size to his advantage. As stated, he uses his more diminutive stature to gain leverage at the snap. His high motor skills and overpowering nature compensate for any shortcomings in his wingspan, as he gets close enough to make plays without getting his hands up. Still, he will be graded harshly, and as these are not coachable traits, he will lose a lot of ground in the draft order. 

Athleticism (10/10)

Quick hands, a high motor, relentless pursuit, disruptive strength, and the ability to be plugged in any position at almost any technique prove that Byron Murphy is the real deal. These athletic attributes become more impressive as they are applied to a lineman. A 300-lb person at 6 feet tall can do all these things and be a real factor throughout a game.  

Football IQ (8/10)

Playing multiple positions effectively requires a high level of intellect. Again, Murphy can be plugged in and immediately become a force at nearly any position on the D-line. He can employ various stunts and schemes from his repertoire, even if his most successful technique will always be the bull rush. However, there are moments when he over-pursues the play, which will be detrimental against a scrambling quarterback at the next level. 

Player Summary

Another Texas Longhorn throwback to a bygone era of physically dominant linemen, Byron Murphy, will most likely be a dominant force in the NFL for years to come. There is too much to like about his abilities and style to pass on him, and if teams balk at his stature, they’ll be missing out on an absolute unit that will stop anything up the middle.

His measurables may push him to Day 2 of the draft, but any team within picks 33-64 will be happy they’ve got the chance to develop this young man into a force to be reckoned with.  

Rookie Projections: Rotational Depth Piece With the Opportunity for an Expanded Role by the End of the Season

Third-Year Projections: All-Pro IDL (1-3Tech)

Final Grade (83/100): Mid-2nd Round Pick

Photo Credit: Tim Warner Getty Images

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images
Byron Murphy II IDL, Texas


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