A very merry Draftmas to you! We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 23rd. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs have done well to fill the spots vacated by their 2020 free agency class, but have yet to add to their linebacker room. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes bigger linebackers capable of covering interior gaps but also wants some athleticism at the WILL linebacker position. With that said, the Chiefs might look early to solve that spot in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Kenneth Murray, linebacker
6’2” | 241 lbs | Oklahoma
Missouri City, TX
Expected Draft Range: Round One
Combine: 4.52 40-yard dash, 38” vertical jump, 129” broad jump, 21 bench press
One-sentence bio: Three-year starter and two-year captain en route to being selected first-team All-Big 12 and third-team All-American linebacker in 2019
One-sentence scouting report: Fantastic athlete and high-character linebacker that needs refinement in his coverage and gap responsibilities
There's plenty of talk about what Kenneth Murray *isn't* out there right now, but his athletic traits are undeniable.— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) April 19, 2020
Murray possesses sideline-to-sideline range, fluidity, and exceptional burst at the linebacker position, and is likely drafted high based on those traits. pic.twitter.com/pNC0VbqN5K
How he fits in Kansas City: Murray’s size and athletic profile would be tantalizing as a WILL linebacker in Spagnuolo’s defense. He checks several of the non-traditional boxes that Spagnuolo prefers in his WILL while still adding speed, length and explosiveness to the Chiefs’ front seven.
Most of the offseason conversation around Murray has revolved around his struggles reading the flow of the play and his lack of coverage reps in college. Oklahoma chose to blitz Murray often — he is a wonderful blitzer, something else Spagnuolo would covet — partially because his zone awareness was poor.
However, teams have gushed about his football character in interviews and talked about the type of leader and locker room presence he would bring to the team that drafted him. He has a high work ethic and wants to grow as a player — which might make some teams feel he is a moldable prospect, despite his deficiencies.
Spagnuolo prefers heady linebackers on his second level, which may give the Chiefs some pause. However, Matt House is very familiar with developing athletes into linebackers from his time at Kentucky. If House could unlock some of Murray’s processing and help develop his game, Murray’s athletic profile could make him a top-tier linebacker at the next level.
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