The Seahawks need to find a corner to take the place of nickelback Justin Coleman. Could Washington Husky Byron Murphy be the answer?
The Seahawks have been lucky the last two years. They haven’t had to worry about the production they would get from their nickel corner. Justin Coleman did an excellent job of limiting slot receivers and tight ends. But Coleman left in free agency and now Seattle needs to find someone just as trustworthy to take his spot.
The University of Washington has a great recent history of producing cornerbacks. In the 2019 NFL Draft, Byron Murphy will be available. He isn’t a big corner like coach Pete Carroll usually likes, and Murphy doesn’t have blazing speed. But he does have great instincts and loves to tackle. In other words, he might be the perfect fit for Coleman’s position.
Murphy is physical big at just 5-feet-11-inches and 190 pounds. But he plays bigger than his size would indicate. Murphy tackles and tackles hard, just as Washington coach Chris Petersen coaches and Carroll loves. And that is a big key to Murphy’s success: He was extremely well-coached in college and should be near-NFL ready when the 2019 season starts.
Beyond just his tenacity, though, Murphy has excellent on-ball instincts. In 20 games for the Huskies, Murphy had six interceptions and 20 passes defended. He returned one of his picks for a touchdown last season.
Speed. Overall, Murphy has a lack of it. Murphy ran a 4.55 40 at the NFL Combine and struggles when he gets beat deep by a speedy receiver. In college this wasn’t often. But NFL receivers are a different breed of cat than college ones. NFL receivers are bigger and faster and this could cause Murphy to struggle.
Murphy is a better athlete than most other humans. But so is almost everybody else in the NFL. With all things being equal, Murphy might take some time to develop into a good corner as he will have to adjust to the speed of the professional game.
There is a lot to like about Murphy. He is an excellent tackler and leaves opponents feeling the punishment. This is very LOB. But Seattle will probably not choose Murphy. Taking a nickel corner with their first pick when the team has greater needs seems like a mistake. Plus, Carroll will sit players who get beat on post routes and Murphy’s speed is a concern.