Senior Bowl Diary: Murphy Passes ‘Big People’ Test

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Stanford vs Michigan State

MOBILE, Ala. – Trent Murphy doesn’t really find Oregon’s offense all that complicated.

The Stanford outside linebacker was part of a defense that limited the Ducks to 20 and 14 points the last two years – both Cardinal victories.

“Oregon’s scheme works really well for what they do,” Murphy said. “But it’s all based on number count of how many players are in the box, how many players are out of the box and then they either throw it out or run the gun-read up inside. And fortunate for Stanford players, we can count as well so we usually have it all figured out.”

Even though his Stanford career is now over, Murphy clearly will take the rivalry with him to the NFL. And at the next level, there’s a chance he could be playing for the designer of that Oregon offense, Chip Kelly.

“It’s interesting to see because… players that have played well against Pac-12 coaches and those guys who are in the NFL now – Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin – those guys get picked up by the opponent’s coaching staff because they did well against them,” Murphy said. “So hopefully that could be a case for me in that sense.”

Based on last year (Zach Ertz, Matt Barkley), Murphy’s theory could apply to Kelly and the Eagles.

At 6-5 3/8, 252 pounds, Murphy passes the “Big people beat up little people” test. He has the biggest hands of any player at the Senior Bowl (10 7/8 inches) and has long arms (33 1/8 inches).

But it’s not just the measurables. Murphy has the production too. He led the nation last year with 15 sacks and was second with 23.5 tackles for loss.

Teams are looking at Murphy as both a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. He played as a stand-up OLB in Stanford’s scheme, which Murphy says has a lot of similarities to what the 49ers run. In 2012, he played mostly on the left side, but Murphy switched to the right side this past season. In addition to the sack numbers, he was asked to drop back into coverage a fair amount also.

Murphy has the length, versatility and production. In the next few weeks, though, he’ll have to prove he has the athleticism. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Murphy as his fifth-ranked defensive end, and most early mock drafts don’t have him going in the first round. Depending on how he tests athletically in the coming weeks, Murphy’s stock could rise or drop by the time the draft rolls around in May.

“I’m sure not too many 6-6 guys can grab their toes and do a pencil squat all the way to the ground on a single leg,” Murphy said. “And so I think being able to bend like that, being so long, it gives me some extra tools in my pocket to pass-rush with.”

Outside linebacker is likely an area the Eagles will address this offseason. They need to add a pass-rusher to the mix, and Murphy is a player to keep an eye on throughout the process.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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