Cornerback | Washington | Redshirt sophomore
Height: 5-foot-11 | Weight: 190 pounds
2018: 58 tackles (37 solo), 4.0 sacks, 13 pass breakups, four interceptions (two were in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and he returned one of those 66 yards for a touchdown) in 14 starts; 2018 Pac-12 Championship Game MVP; All-Pac-12 First Team, Associated Press Second-Team All-America; won Earle T. Glant Tough Husky Award at team banquet
Career: 74 tackles (50 solo), 7.0 sacks, 20 pass breakups, seven interceptions in 20 games; bounced back from a foot injury that cost him seven games of his redshirt freshman season in 2017; won team’s Mark Drennan Defensive Scout Squad MVP and Ultimate “Loco Perros” Award (work in the weight room) in 2016 when he was redshirted
View photos of Washington CB Byron Murphy.
Summary: Murphy doesn’t have as many college games under his belt as some cornerbacks in this year’s field, but he’s been highly productive in two seasons. Despite being targeted just 87 times while with the Huskies, Murphy totaled seven interceptions and 20 pass breakups.
The strong ball skills can be attributed in part to his work as a receiver at Saguaro High School (Arizona) when he helped his team repeat as state champs by catching 88 passes for 1,733 yards and 21 touchdowns as a senior in 2015. He also had seven interceptions that season on his way to garnering Arizona Division II Player of the Year honors and becoming one of four finalists for the Lockheed Martin Air Defender of the Year.
Murphy made good use of his time as a redshirt in 2016 for a secondary that featured 2017 second-round draft picks Kevin King, Sidney Jones and Budda Baker. He opened the first three games of the 2017 season before suffering a foot injury that cost him seven. Murphy made it back for the final three games of the season and closed the campaign with a forced fumble and three pass breakups in the Apple Cup and an interception (in the end zone) against Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote in Murphy’s NFL.com draft profile that he is a “ball-hawking man corner who makes up for a lack of physical tools with outstanding instincts, toughness and short-area quickness.”
NFL Media’s Daniel Jeremiah, however, wrote that Murphy “lacks ideal size/speed, but he’s ultra-instinctive and will be very attractive to teams that play a lot of zone coverage.”
Murphy ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
Zierlein added that Murphy is “hyper-competitive in his run-support duties” but cautioned that he come in hot and “can overrun the tackle” attempt.
Click here to read Murphy’s full bio on NFL.com.
Stacking up (before the combine): Draft analyst Dane Brugler, who writes for The Athletic, has Murphy as the second-best cornerback in this year’s class. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks also ranked Murphy as his second-best among the position group. Jeremiah moved Murphy up four spots after the combine to 26th overall in his list of the top 50 prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Friend and foe: Prior to playing for Saguaro, Murphy played for Marcos de Niza in Tempe, where he teamed with fellow prospect N’Keal Harry. Murphy was quoted by azfamily.com’s Mark McClune as saying, “Sophomore year he lived with me. I lived right by our school, Marcos de Niza High School.”
Both players transferred after a coaching change. Harry went to Chandler, and Murphy went to Saguaro.
Murphy’s Washington squad prevailed 27-20 over Harry’s Arizona State Sun Devils last September.