As we all know, the Chicago Bears currently hold the second pick in the 2023 NFL Draft with two games remaining on the schedule. If they lose both games, they will hold on to that number two pick, but what happens if they win?
If the Bears win one of the two games, it looks as if they won't pick lower than fourth, and if they win both games, the worst-case scenario is the Bears will pick seventh. AT number four, the Bears will still have an outside chance of drafting one of Jalen Carter or Will Anderson, but for that to happen, two quarterbacks have to go in the top three. Right now, I don't feel that is close to being certain though it is possible. For that to happen, the quarterbacks have to become "hot," and how they play in this weekend's Bowl Games will help determine that.
Let's assume, the Bears lose out on a chance to draft Carter or Anderson. Who would be the next player in line for the Bears to select? If we listen to many analysts, the next defensive lineman would be Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy. After watching several of Murphy's games, I'm not so sure.
Don't get me wrong, Murphy is a very good prospect, but he is not a natural pass rusher. Over the last two seasons, he has only 13.5 sacks, which is not a number that jumps out at you for a top four to seven selection in the Draft.
Murphy has excellent defensive end size at about 6'5 – 275 with long arms. He is said to be a very good athlete who will test off the charts. That may be so, but he doesn't play that way, especially when rushing the passer.
Where Murphy is very good is defending the run. He is quick to key and diagnose and is very instinctive. He plays hard, has the ability to get off of run blocks quickly, and almost never gives ground to a blocker. In pursuit, he shows his speed and always takes good angles. In the run game, he is a consistent playmaker.
As a pass rusher, I feel he is average at best. He can get tall and doesn't show the ability to bend and get under his opponent when running the loop. While he gets off of run blocks quickly, that isn't the case when rushing the passer. With his speed and burst, he can close coming off a block, but often it's too late. Can he get better and improve? Yes, but it's not a certainty.
The player I compare Murphy to is the first overall pick in last year's Draft, Travon Walker from Georgia. Walker has been a disappointment as a pass rusher for Jacksonville, with only 3.5 sacks to date this season. Like Murphy, Walker wasn't a prolific pass rusher in college. In 2020 he had only one sack; in 2021 he finished the season with just seven sacks. What Walker did was test incredibly well, running a 4.51 in the 40, a 35.5" vertical jump, and a sub 7.00 3-cone. Jacksonville looked at those numbers and felt he would improve with some coaching. To date, he hasn't. We see that mistake often in the Draft, where a player works out so well the team forgets about his production.
I see Murphy as a left end in the Bears' scheme who would be a very good run defender but will never give the team more than six to eight sacks in a season. Is that the type of player we would want from a top-seven player? In my opinion, NO! I would much rather have Murphy with a pick in the teens, which would mean the Bears would select him after trading down. In the middle part of the first round, he has much better value.
Murphy would have had one more opportunity to impress scouts, but he opted out of Clemson’s Bowl game, which is tonight versus Tennessee. That means the production he had for the season remains, 40 total tackles and 6.5 sacks.