Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy kicked off the 2023 NFL Draft for the Tigers as he was selected 28th overall in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-5, 258-pound edge rusher became the first Tiger to go in the first round since Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne were taken in 2021 by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Murphy, who joins former Clemson WR Tee Higgins and OL Jackson Carman in Cincinnati, collected 116 tackles in three years at Clemson. He recorded 36 tackles for a loss and 18.5 career sacks while forcing six fumbles.
Murphy was long projected as a first-round selection even before he announced in December that he was opting out of the Orange Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft, but he had to wait around for a while Thursday night.
Murphy joins a pretty formidable pass-rushing duo in Cincinnati, which runs a 4-3 base defense. Defensive ends Sam Hubbard had six sacks a year ago while Trey Hendrickson had eight for a team that lost in the AFC Championship Game to Super Bowl champ Kansas City.
Murphy has a physical build that NFL teams covet, and he walks into a good situation with a contending franchise.
“Biggest thing is versatility,” Murphy said about the strengths of his game at the NFL combine. “I have film of playing a three (technique) all the way out to a nine, a two-point, a three-point, dominating in every gap. Great speed off the ball. Great at the point of attack and then me being 275 pounds, just having the strength to go with it.”
Murphy’s best season came in 2021 as a sophomore when he produced eight sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss in 10 games.
As a junior, Murphy put up a team-high-tying 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss in 13 games (11 starts) on his way to being named first-team All-ACC in 2022.
Murphy attended the NFL combine but opted not to participate. Then, his pushed back his pro day at Clemson a few weeks and held a private workout for NFL scouts and executives.
According to numbers released by Clemson, he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash during that workout, which would’ve ranked sixth among the defensive ends at the combine.
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