Free agency is a few weeks old, and the NFL combine is over. We are officially in mock draft season. And while we know mock drafts are more “entertaining” than “science,” they are fun to look at. Long-time NFL Draft Analyst Rob Rang of FOX Sports put out a mock draft recently, and with pick #21, they have Miami selecting…

Round 1, Pick #21: Byron Murphy II, DT – Texas

“Similar to the Rams a few picks earlier, the Dolphins are facing a significant hole in the middle of their defense with former first round pick Christian Wilkins lured to Las Vegas in free agency. Given Miami’s explosive offense, adding a talented pass-rusher to batter opposing quarterbacks attempting to keep up with would seem like a logical corresponding move by the Dolphins’ savvy duo of GM Chris Grier and head coach Mike McDaniel.” Draft Profile


Muscular ball of explosiveness with the tools and talent to become a productive three-down defender in the right scheme. Twitchy first-step quickness combined with flexion and power in his lower half create a recipe for disruption as a gap shooter or as a pass rusher. Murphy is powerful and well-schooled at taking on double-teams but lacks ideal mass and length for that role long-term. He’s successful at bypassing protection with sudden hands and quick feet, while his motor and passion create an activity level coaches will love. Forget the average physical traits and modest production and focus on his competitive spirit and disruptive qualities. Murphy is ascending and could become a successful nose tackle or 3-technique in an even front.


  • Compact frame carries outstanding lean muscle.
  • Uses twitchy, controlled bursts to light up gaps and disrupt play development.
  • Elite combination of strength, balance and flexible power in his lower half.
  • Quick-strike hands help to maneuver around blocks and chase play development.
  • Pass rush driven by relentless energy and exemplary edge-to-edge quickness.
  • Variety of rush approaches are peppered with fluid transitions and counters.


  • Frame might be close to maxed out.
  • Can be swallowed by size if he doesn’t keep it moving.
  • Lack of arm length forces him to work harder to separate.
  • Could be worn down by NFL double-teams and size. Draft Profile


Byron Murphy II from DeSoto High School was rated a 3-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 4-star grade by 247 Sports. After high school, Murphy II joined Texas after being heavily recruited.

In 2021 as a freshman Murphy II saw action in 12 games and played a total of 298 snaps for the Longhorns. He recorded 11 tackles, 7 assists, while adding 10 stops. As a pass rusher, he added 11 total pressures, which included 9 QB hurries, no QB hits, and 2 sacks on the season.

As a sophomore for the Longhorns in 2022 Murphy II played in 12 games and took part in 358 snaps for the Longhorns. He recorded 22 tackles, 7 assists, while adding 18 stops. As a pass rusher, he chalked up 19 total pressures, and 16 QB hurries, 2 QB hits, and a sack during the year.

In 2023 as a junior Murphy II played in 13 games and contributed on 397 snaps. He recorded 13 tackles, 5 assists while making 19 stops. As a pass rusher, he produced an incredible 40 total pressures, which included 30 QB hurries, 4 QB hits, and 6 sacks on the year. His remarkable season earned him an invitation to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

  • Elite athletic skills — Made Bruce Feldman’s ‘Freaks List’ at number 18. He wrote: “has been clocked at 18 MPH on the GPS, had a team-best 455-pound front squat, and power-cleaned 375 pounds. He could’ve gone heavier, but strength coach Torre Becton shut him down. Becton says Murphy could’ve gotten 500 on the front squat and 405 in the power clean.”
  • Exhibits explosive first-step quickness and disrupts plays behind the line of scrimmage, proving to be a nightmare for offensive coordinators.
  • Utilizes exceptional leverage and core strength to anchor against the run and combat double teams, maintaining line integrity.
  • Agile and quick, capable of shooting gaps with precision, significantly disrupting both run and pass plays.
  • Displays a relentless motor and high-energy play, consistently battling through the whistle across every snap.
  • Effective hand technique allows him to shed blocks and navigate through traffic to apply pressure or make stops.
  • Demonstrates versatile defensive capabilities, effective in various schemes with the ability to impact the game across multiple fronts.
  • Has a sharp football IQ, quickly diagnosing plays and adjusting his approach to disrupt offensive schemes effectively.
  • Brings a blend of athleticism and technique to the field, offering potential for growth and refinement at the next level.
  • While his sack numbers aren’t elite, his non-sack pressure numbers are. He also forces double teams allowing others to get his sacks.
  • Despite his disruptive presence, lacks the prototypical NFL size for an interior lineman, raising concerns about matchups against larger linemen.
  • Occasionally relies too heavily on athleticism, which could be mitigated with further technical refinement.
  • While effective against the run, could enhance power and consistency in leg drive during engagements.
  • Can improve precision in hand fighting to consistently defeat experienced blockers in the NFL.
  • Aggressiveness sometimes leads to over-penetration, necessitating more disciplined play recognition and tackle execution.

Byron Murphy II emerges as a standout defensive tackle in this year’s draft class, primarily due to his exceptional abilities as an interior pass rusher. His technique, explosiveness off the line, and ability to navigate through tight spaces draw a parallel to the elite level of play seen in NFL superstars like Aaron Donald. Murphy’s knack for collapsing the pocket from the inside and creating havoc for quarterbacks and running backs alike sets him apart as a defensive prospect. His pass-rushing skills are not just effective; they’re game-changing, allowing him to disrupt offensive schemes and force adjustments at the line of scrimmage.

Murphy’s arsenal of moves, combined with his burst and hand usage, enables him to destroy the offensive line between the tackles with finesse and power reminiscent of the very best at his position. While comparisons to a talent like Aaron Donald set a high bar, Murphy’s collegiate performance and skill set suggest he possesses the potential to become an outstanding pro. His ability to read the play, combined with unmatched agility for a man his size, makes him a constant threat in the backfield.

Looking ahead, Byron Murphy II is poised to make an immediate impact in the NFL. His transition from college to the pros will be watched closely by scouts and coaches alike, many of whom anticipate his quick adaptation to the faster pace and higher complexity of the NFL. As teams increasingly prioritize interior defensive linemen who can pressure the quarterback, Murphy’s skill set becomes even more valuable. His growth potential, coupled with an already impressive foundation of skills, suggests that he could easily be considered one of the best defensive linemen in the draft.

Is Chris Grier a Good General Manager?

Is Chris Grier a Good General Manager?