Analyst: Rams would have picked Seahawks’ first-rounder Murphy

May 3, 2024, 6:51 PM

Seattle Seahawks draft pick Byron Murphy IUI...

Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Byron Murphy II during rookie minicamp. (Lindsey Wasson/AP Photo)

(Lindsey Wasson/AP Photo)

When the Seattle Seahawks drafted Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy II in the first round of the NFL Draft, they felt they were taking the best player left on the board.

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They weren’t the only team that thought Murphy was top the defensive guy when pick No. 16 was on the lock, according to Los Angles Rams color analyst and former NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jones-Drew joined Seattle Sports’ Stacy Rost and Curtis Rogers to discuss the draft Friday on Bump and Stacy, and he unveiled that Seattle’s NFC West rival had its sights set on Murphy with the 19th pick.

“I know the Rams were going to take Byron Murphy if you guys didn’t,” Jones-Drew said.

The Rams did end up bolstering their defensive front three picks later by taking Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse, who was also considered among the top defensive prospects in the draft. Murphy indeed would have made a lot of sense for the Rams. After a decade terrorizing NFL offenses, star defensive tackle Aaron Donald announced his retirement this offseason, leaving a massive hole in middle of Los Angeles’ defensive front. Jones-Drew even sees a bit of Donald in Murphy.

“He has the body type (and) the potential to be what Aaron Donald was for the Rams, a guy that can be disruptive, take over games from the inside,” Jones-Drew said. “The guard position in the National Football League isn’t the best right now. So you get a piece that can really penetrate the pocket and put pressure on the quarterback. … To me, he was (one of) the top three pass rushers up there.”

Jones-Drew also acknowledged the improvement Murphy should bring to Seattle’s struggling run defense, which has been among the NFL’s worst for two straight seasons.

“Now you got a guy who can both help stop the run with penetration,” he said. “That’s going to be a huge help.”

Jones-Drew also believes Seattle is likely a better destination for Murphy to start his NFL career.

“The reason I didn’t want to take him was you would have to slide him in right in the (Aaron Donald) spot,” Jones-Drew said. “That’s a tough shadow to cast over a rookie to go out there and play. So really it was like a catch 22. You want that type of player, but you want to put him in a position to be successful, right? Coming in having go after (Donald), that would be tough.”

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