2019 #33 Arizona Cardinals - Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: Assistant head coach and secondary guru Jimmy Lake has received a lot of credit for helping turn the University of Washington into one of college football's most reliable pipelines for cornerbacks and safeties in recent years with four top 50 draft picks since 2015. Quality coaching is critical to developing a program but exceptional talent doesn't hurt. That is the case with Murphy, who signed with the Huskies as a heralded recruit and the top-rated prep out of the state of Arizona. Once on campus, it didn't take the Washington staff to realize that Murphy was an exceptional athlete with an NFL future and so the decision was made to redshirt him in 2016 with upcoming draft picks Kevin King, Sidney Jones and Budda Baker already established starters. Murphy earned the scout team's defensive MVP for the year and won a starting job the next spring, recording two interceptions in his debut (Rutgers) before suffering a broken foot in practice a month into the season. Murphy returned for the final three games of the season, ultimately playing in six games (starting all of them) and finishing with 16 tackles, seven passes broken up, the two interceptions and a forced fumble. While Thorpe Award voters failed to recognize Murphy's stellar play in 2018, opponents did not. Voted First Team All-PAC-12 by coaches and media alike, Murphy ranked among national leaders with 13 passes broken up as a redshirt sophomore, intercepting four passes, including a pick-six against Utah in the Pac-12 championship game that proved to be the only touchdown scored in the Huskies' 10-3 victory that earned them a trip back to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Despite opting to enter the NFL Draft with just 20 career games under his belt, Murphy showed a knack for producing big plays in big games - collecting interceptions against rival Washington State and Stanford as well as performing well in showdowns last season with Auburn and Ohio State to begin and end the year. It isn't often that a player gives up two years of eligibility - especially when they've only started one full season - but Murphy is special, showing a degree of fluidity, physicality and ball-skills scream top 20 pick and longtime NFL starter.