For their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins selected Stanford outside linebacker Trent Murphy in the second round. Most draft experts were baffled by this selection, considering that the Redskins already have two Pro Bowl pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. However, Orakpo was just franchise tagged by the Redskins back on March 27 and Kerrigan is entering the final year of his rookie contract. This seems to be an insurance policy move by General Manager Bruce Allen and the Washington Redskins. Murphy did lead the NCAA FBS in sacks with 15 as a senior and is a great size for the NFL at 6'5" and 250 pounds. Jay Gruden explained to the media last Sunday how the rookie pass rusher will be implemented into the Redskins' defense.
"You know nickel packages get pretty extravagant nowadays," Gruden said. "Coach Haslett has a lot of plans for him, but coming in right now, he's going to line up obviously at outside linebacker, back up Ryan [Kerrigan] and Brian [Orakpo] and provide us with some depth at that position. We felt like anytime you can add a good pass rusher with the resume Trent has, it was a great opportunity and we couldn't pass it up." (Credit: The Washington Post)
Another reason why the Redskins drafted Murphy was his talent of tackling. That was a big issue for the Redskins defense last year and with the departure of London Fletcher, the defense needed someone who could tackle well. Murphy could fill that need for Washington's defense, who was ranked 31st in points allowed according to NFL.com. With the 3-4 defensive scheme, there's multiple possibilities of where Murphy could line up. He also ran track in high school, which could help him catch up to the fast athletes in the NFL. He will be competing for the back-up outside linebacker spot with Brandon Jenkins, who was a prolific pass rusher at Florida State. Gruden was very excited to have the young linebacker come aboard for the Washington franchise.
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"He works his tail off," Gruden said. "He's first on the field and the last to leave. He studies the game. He's big, he's long. He may not have the explosion right now off the line of scrimmage, which might have knocked him down to the second round, but I look for production, I look for intensity, I look for toughness and accountability. He's got all of those traits and if he has all those traits, I know he is going to work hard in the weight room to get stronger and to provide another pass rusher and some depth at the position. We felt like he was a very good fit for our team."