The playoff wins over the last few years have been beautiful, but having to wait until after 11:00 pm ET to see the Cincinnati Bengals make their first pick still feels strange.
With the team picking this late, there was no Chase or Penei-style debate.
Instead, there were many names, but the most common name associated with the Bengals was Michael Mayer. With the Notre Dame tight end still on the board, the Bengals went another route.
With the 28th pick in the draft, the Bengals selected Clemson Tigers defensive end Myles Murphy. Murphy stands at 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds. He ran a 1.59 10-yard split and is only 21 years old.
What he brings to the Bengals
Run Defense: This is the AFC North, and stopping the run has to be priority one defensively. Murphy has the strength and length to hold the edge and force the ball carrier to cut back inside. This will make him a huge asset as a run defender. He had 37 tackles for a loss in his career at Clemson, including 11 last season.
Pass Rush Potential: Murphy is explosive off the line of scrimmage but has never had more than seven sacks in a season. He has all the physical tools but has not yet developed as a pass rusher. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of former Bengal Carl Lawson, and like Lawson, he could develop some excellent power pass-rush moves. The Bengals have an excellent defensive line coach in Marion Hobby, who can get the most out of Murphy.
Tools: Murphy was the top defensive end recruit in the nation coming out of college and has the strength and speed to be an All-Pro caliber NFL player. He just hasn’t put it all together yet. He is young, and from all reports, very hard-working and eager to please. We have not yet seen the best of Myles Murphy.
Why the Bengals picked Murphy
Pass Rush is King: It may sound cliché, but you can never have too many good pass rushers. Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo does a tremendous job of utilizing his talent. Murphy gives him another pass rusher who can be substituted for either a defensive end or a defensive tackle.
Think About the Future: Both Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson saw a dropoff in their sack production last season. Hopefully, that is corrected this year, but adding Murphy gives them another pass-rush asset. Hubbard and Hendrickson are both potential cap casualties next offseason, particularly if they are not able to produce at a high level. Drafting Murphy gives the Bengals the flexibility to move on from one of them if it is necessary in 2024.
Murphy is a tremendous fit for the Bengals. He is a disciplined pass rusher with the tools to develop into a double-digit sack producer in the NFL. He is an excellent run defender who can help contain the dangerous rushing attacks of the Bengals’ AFC North rivals.
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