New Seahawks DT Byron Murphy II could not be more different than L.J. Collier

Murphy should succeed where Collier did not.
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The Seattle Seahawks' pick of Byron Murphy II may call up the specter of L.J. Collier for some 12s. Fear not; Murphy is an entirely different spirit.

I'm sure many of you had a sense of deja vu during the first round of the draft. The Seahawks chose a defensive lineman from the Big 12. He didn't wow anybody with his size, but virtually every scout cited his toughness and high-end motor. He didn't work his way into the starting lineup until his final year in college, but once he got his chance, everyone knew he was ready for the NFL.

For many 12s, the memory is a painful one. That draft was in 2019, and the player was L.J. Collier. Yes, he posted an excellent record in his final year at TCU. He had 11.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks, and broke up four passes. While he was generally projected as a second-round pick, most of the draft pundits agreed the choice made sense for Seattle as they had traded Frank Clark to the Chiefs. Among the picks they got in return was number 29, so Collier was a direct replacement for Clark.

Seattle Seahawks got a major upgrade with Byron Murphy II

For many 12s, the memory of that 2019 pick of Collier is a painful one. Far from stepping into a starting role, Collier was inactive for five games as a rookie. Even worse, when he was on the field, he did little to show he belonged. For 154 snaps, he made three tackles. That's it; no sacks, no QB hits, and nothing else. He got his chance to start in 2020 but was hardly any better. He had 22 tackles - four for a loss - and 17 pressures including three sacks. Nice production for a player you scooped up on Day 3, but this was a first-round pick. As we all know, it went downhill from there.

As for the latest first-round defensive lineman from the state of Texas, we'll see a very different story. While Collier got a lot of buzz after his final season at TCU, it was nowhere near the recognition that Byron Murphy II earned. And he definitely earned all the talk. Listen as Lance Zierlein of describes him as "the only game-wrecking defensive tackle" in the 2024 draft.

Murphy was a consensus first-round pick, no matter where you look. Almost every draft site agreed with Zierlein, positioning the Texas junior as the top defensive lineman in the draft. As we've mentioned, oh, a thousand times now, Murphy played at nose tackle more often than his 366 lb teammate, T'Vondre Sweat. The man eats double teams and sheds blockers like he's covered in Teflon.

Murphy is faster, more explosive, and stronger than Collier. While some draft experts saw a ceiling for Collier, most say the sky is the - well, you know the saying. Suffice it to say that Byron Murphy II is the beast we hoped we were getting back in 2019. The wait will have been worth it. I think the 12s agree.

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