Last year, we saw two inside linebackers get selected in the top 10 of the NFL draft; Devin White and Devin Bush. This year, there’s arguably a better prospect that isn’t getting enough attention.
Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray is a defensive coordinator’s dream. He combines his 6’2 241lb size, with 4.52u speed and great football IQ. Solo analyst and host of “The Film Room” on YouTube, Brett Kollmann said, “Murray is a blur”.
As a three year starter and a true junior, Murray racked up 325 tackles and a whopping 36.5 TFL’s. Compared to last year’s middle linebackers selected in the top 10, Murray has more total tackles and tackles for loss than both White (286t tackles, 28.5 TFL) & Bush (172 tackles, 18.5 TFL).
Murray was the captain for the Sooners and will captain whatever team is lucky enough to grab him, late in the first round. His stats and 6.44 combine score (according to NFL.com) speak for themselves. Somehow, still analyst have Murray plummeting down draft boards.
Here’s where the Carolina Panthers come in…
Carolina lost their all-pro middle linebacker, Luke Keuchly, to retirement earlier on this off-season. Currently, the only inside linebackers Carolina has are Shaq Thompson and former Los Vegas Raider, Tahir Whitehead, on their roster. I’d consider both of these players place holders.
Newly-appointed head coach, Matt Rhule, has an opportunity to replace Kuechly’s production, with Murray for the next decade. They currently hold all seven rounds of their team’s draft picks. I think the opportunity to trade back up and snag the potential replacement is too prominent to pass on. Rhule can make early impressions if he manages to pull something like this off; In his first-ever controlled draft.