As is the case for every draft pick, this will have an impact on players on the roster. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this selection.
Lou Anarumo: Murphy brings something that you simply can’t have enough of, pass rush. As good as the defense has been over the last two seasons, the Bengals recorded only 30 sacks in 2022, which came in at 29th in the NFL. Murphy brings talent, length, and a lightning-quick first step. A deeper pass rush should translate to finishing the job in the backfield more.
Irv Smith Jr.: Michael Mayer was on the board, and many thought he would be the pick. Obviously, the Bengals passed. For Smith, this is great news. As he comes to Cincinnati on a prove-it deal, Smith doesn’t have to worry about a first round selection keeping him off the field. Smith looks to be in line for a chance to showcase his talents as he looks to cash in next off-season.
Sidney Jones: Jones is another player who came to Cincinnati in an attempt to revitalize his career. There was a lot of talk of the Bengals taking a cornerback at 28, but the early run on the position left them with none they wanted to take in the first round. Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, and Mike Hilton will be the starters, but Jones will be in the thick of it with Allen George for the fourth corner spot. No first round corner being selected ups his chance at playing time and lowers his chances of not making the team at all.
Drew Sample: Sample also benefits from the Bengals passing on Mayer. Back with a team on a one-year deal, it isn’t a guarantee he is on the Week 1 roster. Not adding Mayer leaves him (as of now) set to retain the second tight end spot.
Joseph Ossai: Speaking of Ossai, Murphy could come in and take a lot of the snaps he saw last season. On a defense that struggled to get the quarterback on the ground, a first round selection is likely to see the field early and often. Ossai has a rough end to his 2022 season with the late hit that pushed Kansas City into field goal range to win the AFC Championship game, and his life isn’t getting any easier with a talented rusher taken at a premium pick vying for snaps.
Jeff Gunter: More of the same for Gunter. Another young player trying to find his way in the rotation just got potentially bumped down a spot. Anarumo will want his first round bull rush specialist on the field. Ossai has shown more upside than Gunter to this point, so Gunter may be the fourth option at best. In reality, his roster spot could be in jeopardy.
Tarell Basham: This pick probably hurts Basham the most. As a career journeyman, Murphy’s selection may lead to Basham being the odd man out. The team has assets tied up in Hendrickson and Hubbard and draft capital tied up in Ossai, Gunter, and now Murphy. That alone could be the determining factor when final cuts roll around in August.