Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking a look at each of the draft picks by the Washington Redskins and what they can each provide in their first years. Washington took a solid approach to the draft and ended up getting a solid group of guys, although there were some reaches and some discrepancies between analysts, fans, and reporters. First up on the list of people to watch for is OLB/DE Trent Murphy from Stanford. Drafted as a pass rusher, Murphy has the ability to get after the QB, but also affect the game in other ways. Below I’ll take a look at what he can do and what fans can expect from him.
So why was Trent Murphy drafted? Those were some of the words uttered on Friday night when Murphy was selected. The team has two very good OLB players with Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo, so why draft another guy whom wont start? Simply put the team is using the draft as a blueprint for the future depth charts. (Which it always should have been) Murphy is an intriguing guy because he’s not the speed freak at OLB, but he’s a technician who plays very violently and has a pretty good array of pass rush moves. What Murphy does best is disrupt the game both on running downs and in the passing game. Redskins fans can expect him to be used in the “nascar” package that Jim Haslett had wanted to implement last year, but for some reason never ran it as much as it was being shown in the pre-season. Having Murphy on the field could allow for him to be on the field along with Jason Hatcher, Brian Orakpo, and Ryan Kerrigan in a 4 man DL. They could also then use different combinations of that DL with guys such as Chris Baker and Barry Cofield to keep everyone fresh.
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Murphy though just isn’t a pass rusher, and it’s mainly why I was higher on him than others because I saw the totality of what he provided on game day. Murphy does a good job of stacking and shedding from offensive linemen by using his hands and being violent with his hand usage. Having an OLB who can make an impact in the run game along with passing downs will allow for a better overall team because opposing offenses can’t just target the OLB and run at him because they know he can’t stop the run. Murphy will allow for that to not be the case and with his versatility you can use him on run downs, passing downs and different variations.
The biggest thing with Murphy though is that he is possible insurance for the Redskins incase Brian Orakpo does leave after next year and test the FA waters. One of the biggest things I’d been preaching on various outlets was that while it wasn’t seen as the “big need” OLB is a need because in theory you might not have a starting OLB in 3 years. Having Murphy provides some comfort and goes back to the idea of drafting for the future and having to take advantage of the needs that will be happening not only today, but in the future. By making this select the Redskins have helped position their depth chart in a better spot now than they did going into the draft. The Redskins didn’t make the sexy pick everyone wanted with an OT in the 2nd round, but they got a good start to the draft and have added guys who will help make the team better overall.