Last year, the Arizona Cardinals made waves selecting Saguaro alum Christian Kirk with a second round selection. Another year, another second round Sabercat for the Bird Gang after they selected defensive back Byron Murphy with pick #33 in the 2019 NFL Draft.
As a Sabercat, Murphy was one of the most decorated players in the state and among one of the best players in the state in the class of 2016. In two years, he had 44 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and 105 tackles.
After committing to the University of Washington and a redshirt freshman season, Murphy became an instant-impact defensive back for Chris Petersen. In his redshirt freshman year, he played in six games due to injury and had two interceptions. He followed that season up with 58 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 4 interceptions.
Sports360AZ’s Eric Sorenson is with Murphy at his draft party and will have more on that later.
Pro Football Focus’ Mike Renner had this to say about Byron Murphy, their top cornerback in this class:
His lack of size and length could be an issue for him against larger receivers in the NFL, but his feet and hips are still exceptional from a press position. Any team that likes to play matchups with their cornerbacks could easily stick him on a smaller, shiftier wideout and not think twice about it.
What’s maybe the most impressive thing about Murphy is how well he already sees the game at such a young age. The redshirt sophomore only just turned 21 in January and played only 334 snaps in 2017 (earning an 89.6 coverage grade on those snaps). There are 10-year NFL veterans who can’t make the kinds of plays Murphy already can.
Murphy joins Kirk and running back DJ Foster as former Sabercats on the Cardinals’ roster.