Bears Draft Target: Myles Murphy
Brett Davis - USA Today Sports

Bears Draft Target: Myles Murphy

by - Senior Writer -

Defense, Defense, and more defense. That should be the Chicago Bears focus as we enter the NFL draft considering where their defense was last season. Sure, a 3-14 record means there is a lot more than just defensive issues going around, but that is the part of the team that struggled the most.

Say what you want about the offensive line and the inconsistency of the offense. However, there was a six-game stretch this season when the Bears were averaging 30 PPG and yet came away with an 0-6 record. There is no argument you can make as to why a team goes 0-6 and still somehow scores 30 PPG.

The bottom line is the defense was just that bad as they were dead last in sacks and QB pressures, Second to last in yards allowed per carry, and third worst in total yards allowed and points per game. That is a recipe for disaster, and that alone is a huge reason why the Bears have the No. 1 pick this year.

Regarding the draft and even free agency, Ryan Poles has a ton of work to do, but at least he has identified the needs of this team. While he has stated that the offensive line and getting Justin Fields more help is a priority, those areas will most likely be addressed in free agency. Looking at the upcoming NFL draft, I expect Poles to target the defensive side of the ball, especially in the first few rounds.

If you ask any Bears fan out there, the consensus would be drafting Will Anderson Jr No. 1 overall. However, if Chicago traded back to acquire more assets, there is a good chance that Anderson would still be there or even Jalen Carter as a consolation prize. However, don't expect the Bears to stop there, as they may want to address getting more pressure on the QB.

Anderson Jr certainly would help that, but so would Clemson EDGE rusher Myles Murphy who could be another option for Chicago. Murphy has the size of a prototypical NFL defensive end, with elite athleticism, a high motor, and the ability to bump inside and play 3-technique. That is crucial to the Bears' success and their defensive scheme, as Alan Williams needs more 3-technique guys.

Getting back to his size for a minute, not only is he 6-5, but at 275 pounds, he is bigger than most EDGE rushers which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Murphy has been a consistent producer while playing for Dabo Swinney, as he came away with 118 tackles, 44 tackles for a loss, 17.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles. The 44 tackles for a loss is a mind-blowing number, an average of one per game.

The 2022 season was the best season for Murphy from an overall side of things. Murphy finished the 2022 season with 44 tackles, one forced fumble, 13 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks. In other words, he is a menace for offensive linemen and has a knack for getting in the backfield to disrupt plays.

Not only does he have a high motor which you look for in an EDGE rusher, but Murphy also displays a ton of quickness as he explodes off the snap. There have been instances where he has made the play so quickly that it appeared he had timed the snap count out. Given his quickness, Murphy not only can win on the EDGE with active hands, but he has no trouble in pursuit and has chased down plenty of RBs.

The biggest concern about him entering the draft is where he will play in the NFL. Listed as an EDGE, Murphy is bigger than most EDGE players, but is smaller than most DE. That means he needs to figure out where he fits best, as he lacks the lateral agility to be a true DE. Murphy has also been caught guessing on the play, as he tends to take chances instead of following an OL to the ball. He needs to work on those areas of his game and several other minor issues.

Given the Bears lack of a pass rush a season ago, they need to bring in athletic players any way they can. Free agency is an option, but drafting a guy like Murphy could be a safer bet. With Murphy, you're getting an elite prospect that has size and speed with a 40-time clocked in the 4.5-4.6 range. He is also a hard-nosed hand in the, dirt energy guy that fits the mentality of the old Bears defenses.

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