Trent Murphy was the Redskins’ second-round pick in 2014. After two years at outside linebacker, the team is looking for a position for him. Actually, they are looking for multiple positions for him.
There is a bit of a logjam at OLB and Murphy keeps getting pushed back on the depth chart. Preston Smith emerged at end of last year, Junior Galette re-signed last week, and Ryan Kerrigan will continue to be a mainstay.
So what will they do with Murphy?
“I think we can move around Trent Murphy,” said Jay Gruden at the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday. “I think he can play inside, outside, standup, put his hand down and gain some more weight, I think we’ll have to play with him a little bit.”
There was a lot of talk this offseason that Murphy would put on a lot of weight—maybe as much as 20 pounds—and covert to a full-time 3-4 defensive end. Gruden wants him to be able to play there, at least on a part-time basis.
“Well, he’s a young football player and coming out of college at Stanford, he’s going to get bigger naturally,” said Gruden. “We’re hoping that that comes naturally. He will have the ability to put his hand down, maybe play 5-technique or something like that. Because he’s got great hips I think and he’s got a great motor, he plays extremely hard. We’ve got to find a place for him to keep him on the field.”
The 5-technique, which plays lined up over the offensive tackle, is the typical 3-4 defensive end spot. Usually players at this spot weigh in the neighborhood of 300 pounds. Murphy was listed at 258 pounds last year. Although at age 25 he could naturally gain a few more pounds, he not going to experience some sort of growth spurt that will push him close to 300 pounds.
So it doesn’t appear that Murphy will go in and replace the departed Jason Hatcher, who played 550 snaps at right defensive end last year. But Gruden wants him to be able to line up there in certain situations, perhaps in certain passing situations where they do not want to go with a four-man front.
The bottom line here is, stay tuned. They will work with Murphy in OTAs and in training camp to find a role, or multiple roles, where he can be effective.