Byron Murphy is the perfect pick for the Eagles at #25
After an up and down season, no phrase describes the Eagles’ secondary better than a roller coaster.
Up until Week 13, the secondary was a disgrace. In fact, it was an extreme liability and a fall from grace compared to last year’s secondary. Suddenly, when Avonte Maddox returned, he and Cre’Von LeBlanc changed the dynamic of the season.
LeBlanc is an incredible player. His story is also special, and I recommend you read about it. With that said, he should (and likely will be) the Eagles’ starting slot CB next season.
Avonte Maddox, a 4th round pick in the 2018 draft, is also a fine player. He, like LeBlanc, earned himself a starting spot in a short amount of time. One player that would compliment Maddox and LeBlanc perfectly is Byron Murphy, a corner out of Washington.
Philly sports has not had a great experience with Washington, with Markelle Fultz and Sidney Jones IV not panning out how we would like. If the Eagles draft Byron Murphy to complete their secondary, the Washington curse will be broken.
If the Eagles draft Murphy, their secondary would include: Murphy, Mills, Maddox, LeBlanc, Douglas, Jones IV, Jenkins, and McLeod. Adding Murphy all but guarantees the Eagles will part ways with Ronald Darby, unless he is willing to take a serious pay cut.
In an offseason where the Eagles could use cap room, drafting Murphy could help save with Darby, and could maybe even allow the Eagles to cut Rodney McLeod and move Mills or Rasul Douglas to safety.
Murphy does something well that Eagles corners struggled with this season, and that is creating turnovers. Murphy, had an incredible season with 4 INTs and 13 pass deflections. The interception leader for the Eagles was Rasul Douglas with 3, and he didn’t receive extended playing time until late in the season.
Murphy’s 13 pass deflections would have lead the Eagles, also. A ballhawk and a physical corner is something the Eagles secondary desperately needs.
As mentioned, the turnover ratio (-3) was a major disappointment for the Birds. Last season, during the Eagles Super Bowl run, the team as a whole had 19 interceptions. This season, the team combined only had 10. Yes, the secondary was hounded with injuries but Maddox and LeBlanc stepped up and played just as well if not better than Mills and Darby would have.
Many consider Murphy the #1 corner in the whole draft, yet it is expected that he will be there for the Eagles taking at #25. If it comes down to it, I wouldn’t mind giving up a late pick to move up a few spots and snag Murphy.
At 1:11 in the highlight video above, Murphy shows his excellent ball skills. On a play where the QB should have thrown the ball away, Murphy stays with the play, tracks down the ball and makes a crucial red zone INT.
Watch the INT at 2:29 and you will be sold on Murphy. He reads the QB like a book, cuts the route down and converts it into an INT.
Okay, last one. At 4:06, Murphy once again knows exactly where the QB wants to go and deflects the ball in the red zone. We know what Jalen Mills can do in the red zone, and him and Murphy would be scary for opposing offenses.
If he is available, I see no reason to pass up on Murphy. Whenever you have a chance to draft the #1 corner in the draft at pick #25, you do it. His ball skills and ability to read the QB are unmatched in this draft. As mentioned earlier, drafting him opens up other options this offseason such as moving on from Darby.
While the draft is in April and my opinion may change, but right now Byron Murphy is my favorite player in this upcoming draft (that the Eagles can realistically land.)
Report by Jack Margolin