The Kansas City Chiefs defense played extremely well down the stretch in 2019. They got better against the run as the season wore on mostly due to improved play by the defensive line. While Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson played well at linebacker, the Chiefs could use some more talent at the position. If they are looking to add a LB during the draft, they should consider Kenneth Murray.
In three seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners, Murray had 325 tackles, 36.5 of those were for a loss. He also had 9.5 sacks. In 2018 and 2019, Murray had double-digit tackles for a loss and at least 4 sacks. These statistics indicate a player that makes quick decisions and gets to the ball in a hurry. Murray is known for making splash plays and should be considered one of the top LBs in the 2020 NFL draft.
At 6-foot-2 and 243-pounds, Murray is put together well for a LB. He plays physical and is a good tackler. Murray is extremely speedy for a man his size and his ability to get sideline-to-sideline to make plays is phenomenal. He also has an incredible burst from a standstill which makes Murray dangerous when blitzing. He has been described as a heat-seeking missile and is very aggressive when running towards the ball. But that aggression causes him to occasionally over pursue on misdirection plays. This is something that can be corrected with good coaching and experience at the next level.
Murray has garnered the attention of NFL scouts and is seen as a future three-down linebacker. He has been described as a player that can be a difference-maker on defense and can be a nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators. Murray is being compared to former NFL great Thomas Davis and current San Francisco 49er Kwon Alexander.
Kenneth Murray would be an excellent fit in the Chiefs defense. Experts say he runs more like a safety in space and the Chiefs could use more speed at the LB position. Since they already have Hitchens and Wilson playing well in Steve Spagnuolo’s system, Murray would have the opportunity to learn from these veterans and would be another weapon in blitz packages. With his speed, Murray has the potential to be good in pass coverage, something the Chiefs have lacked at the LB position for some time.
With elite players on the defensive line and in the secondary, the Chiefs could use a difference-maker at the linebacker position. Murray has the raw talent to become just that. He will need good coaching to correct some negative tendencies, but the Chiefs have a great defensive staff that can mold the young player. He may not be a day one starter, but Murray has the ability to be a star in this league. Kansas City should consider taking a chance on him if he should fall to them in the draft.
Projected draft round: Late 1st/Early 2nd
Player Draft Grade: B