Instincts: 5 Tackling: 7 Play Speed: 7 Pass Coverage: 6
Blitzing: 6 Motor: 6 Pursuit: 6 Special Teams Value: 6
(Explanation of grades can be found here.)
Games Watched: vs Houston (A22) @Baylor (A22) vs LSU (B) vs Texas (A22) vs Alabama (B)
Strengths: Kenneth Murray is a sideline-to-sideline eraser who is explosive going downhill and laterally. He’s patient with his reads and descends on runs like a hawk once he makes a decision. As a tackler, Murray is consistent and will often make splashy, tone-setting hits that amp up his teammates. He consistently takes good angles to the ball carrier and showcases good pop before wrapping and driving with excellent grip strength. Has a lot of experience working as a QB spy and was able to contain the mobile quarterbacks he commonly faced in the Big-12. Murray didn’t drop into man coverage often, but he has a solid understanding of getting to his spot in zone coverage and has the range to cover a lot of space in the hook-to-curl vicinity. He’s a hard-charging blitzer who routinely broke through the line of scrimmage too quickly for college offensive lines to react. Although he doesn’t make many splashy plays in the backfield when blitzing, his presence is typically enough to cause a major disruption for the opposing offense.
Weaknesses: While he takes good angles to the ball frequently, Murray has a tendency to over-pursue the near hip, allowing runners cutback lanes. He’s not great at navigating through trash after picking an angle to the ball carrier. When faced with oncoming blockers, he doesn’t have a plan besides running around them. Doesn’t use his hands violently to shred an incoming block, letting blockers get into his chest and take him out of the play at times. Instincts on run fits inside are merely average.
What we need to learn about him: Can Murray play man coverage downfield consistently? He has hardly any experience doing so, and his coverage instincts may be lacking when he first enters the league. While Murray is rocked up, his frame is still a tad small for a Mike linebacker. Will he be able to hold up at the point of attack against interior linemen?
Scheme: Murray captained the middle of Oklahoma’s hybrid 4-2-5/3-3-5 read-and react defense. He played the Mike role and was tasked with blitzing or spying running QBs more often than he dropped into coverage.
Injury History: 2020: Pulled up with a hamstring injury while running the 40-yard dash at the Combine. 2019: Left the Baylor game early with an injury to his midsection.
Summary: Kenneth Murray is an explosive, rangy linebacker who can effectively play the role of sideline-to-sideline eraser and QB spy from the Mike position, but he may need some time to develop his pass coverage due to limited experience.