2024 Bears Draft Target: Byron Murphy II
John David Mercer - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Draft Target: Byron Murphy II

by - Senior Writer -

Arguably, the most crucial pre-draft event is set to take place in Indianapolis in the coming days as the annual NFL Scouting Combine will take center stage. This is where 321 NFL prospects will spend their weekends doing NFL-caliber workouts in front of scouts and meeting some of the coaches.

The Bears Kevin Warren, Matt Eberflus, and Ryan Poles are all expected to be in attendance during the event, so you should start to see a lot more names linked to the Bears in terms of what direction they are leaning come draft night. As things sit, the consensus is that the Bears will draft Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall selection and then grab Rome Odunze with the No. 9 pick.

That would be the perfect first round for this team and would instantly improve an offense desperate for playmakers. However, what if there was a way for the Bears to have not one, not two, but potentially three first-round picks?

According to one of the more recent mock Drafts from CBS Sports, the Bears would acquire three first-round picks, with their third one coming at No. 20.

Pittsburgh owns that No. 20 pick, and based on what we know, Mike Tomlin is a massive fan of Justin Fields, and the Steelers have been discussing a trade within their organization to try and land Fields. Could this be the trade that makes that happen? I'm sure there would be other picks attached to it, but if you could get a first-rounder for Fields and have it give you three in this year's draft, it is doubtful the Bears would pass on that opportunity.

Let's say the Bears make that trade and land three first-round picks in return. It's unlikely they go offense again unless it is used to improve the offensive line. However, there are some other needs for this team on defense, and that is where I see this team going at No. 20 should this trade idea come to the surface, as Texas DL Byron Murphy II could be available for the taking.

Poles knows he needs to address the EDGE rush and defensive line positions, but look for him to focus on an EDGE during the free agent process while looking to beef up the line in the draft. Murphy II is a very talented interior lineman who can play either a zero or five-technique at an extremely high level. The former Longhorn has the strength, the motor, and the explosiveness to be a day-one impact and future star potential. Murphy would perform best in an even front-one gap defensive scheme.

At 6-1 and 308 pounds, Murphy is a load on the inside of that line, and his overall athletic ability makes him a nightmare for any offensive lineman to defend. Known for his strong lower half body to help create leverage against his opponent, Murphy has that quick get-off that allows him to get penetration right off the snap. He also has the agility to cross the guard's face when slanting.

His quick reaction to the snap allows him to extend his hands immediately to create the leverage he needs to control the line of scrimmage. His ability to take on blockers with a wide pad level is impressive, as is the swim move that allows him to beat his man and make plays in the backfield. Along with the spin moves come several other agile moves that he can display in the NFL, which could help him become one of the better interior linemen in the game.

As expected, when it comes to any prospect, there are things for him to work on, and all of them can be ironed out during camp. Although he has the size to play DT, he lacks the overall height, which leads to shorter arms. You can get away with that in college, but in the NFL, where defenders tend to have longer arms, that could create an issue.

While Murphy can be overpowering, he also stops his feet on contact, which can be an issue against double-teams from more aggressive offensive linemen and limits the effectiveness of his bull rush. He also has a habit of diving at feet when tackling in the backfield, which leads to misses against running backs and athletic quarterbacks.

Either way, Murphy II is still coming off an impressive season and will be a coveted late first-round pick. Across his 14 games this past season, Murphy collected 29 total tackles, with 8.5 coming as a tackle for loss. He also added five sacks as he continued to show he could make plays in various ways. When looking at NFL players to compare him to, Dalvin Tomlinson comes to mind, as does Michael Pierce, as both have gone on to have good NFL careers.

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