ESPN just turned up heat on Byron Murphy II being immediately impactful

Murphy was taken by Seattle at pick 16 overall in the 2024 NFL draft.
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We will not know whether the Seattle Seahawks made a wise choice in taking defensive tackle Byron Murphy II with their first pick in the 2024 NFL draft for a few seasons. Unless Murphy suffers a catastrophic injury in his rookie year, and no one wants or expects that to happen, he won't be a bust pick after only a season. Neither will he be a future Hall of Famer after one.

One of the positive aspects of choosing Murphy in the first round is that he will not have to step in immediately and be the clear best player on the defensive line. He will have help from the veterans who play beside him, namely Leonard Williams and Jarran Reed. Both Williams and Reed should be able to help Murphy acclimate quickly to the NFL and help him be better sooner rather than later.

Expecting Murphy to come into his rookie season and have 9 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and 18 tackles for loss might be asking a bit too much, but he likely has the physical skill to reach those numbers. That is what Aaron Donald did in his rookie season in 2014. Obviously, thinking Murphy is going to be as good as Donald is not a safe bet, though, as maybe no player in NFL history has been a better interior defensive player than Donald.

Byron Murphy II should be excellent for the Seahawks by the end of the 2024 season

ESPN believes that Murphy is among a handful of rookies stepping into a best-case scenario, though. According to ESPN's Marc Ross, Murphy has the ninth-best situation to succeed as a rookie and the reason is not only because of Murphy's talent but the veterans surrounding him. Ross also implied that Murphy could easily have the same kind of impact that Jalen Carter had on the Philadelphia Eagles as a rookie in 2023.

Ross wrote, "Murphy should see more playing time as a starter for the Seahawks, but he’ll be able to make the same type of splash plays Carter did simply because there are so many established disruptors around him...Murphy’s skill set adds an extra dimension for new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald, who’ll love creating one-on-one opportunities for the rookie."

That last part is key, of course. Had Murphy been available for Seattle to choose in the 2022 draft and the team took him, Murphy might not have the same level of coaching and scheme to help him succeed quickly. Mike Macdonald should make a huge difference with the Seahawks' defense overall, but also help Murphy ascend more quickly toward being a dangerous player than if Murphy was still being directed by former head coach Pete Carroll and former defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt.

In Aaron Donald's rookie season, he had only one sack in his first five games. He then finished by having six sacks in his final seven games. Again, Murphy might not be the next Donald, but his rookie season could follow the same path. By the end of 2024, Murphy should be making a lot of great plays for the Seahawks.

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