BY PETER HAILEY
Second year linebacker Trent Murphy has seen his stock rise about as fast as any Redskins player this offseason.
The 24-year-old Stanford product truly impressed at OTAs, with eye witnesses describing him as faster, stronger, and just about every other -er in the book that relates to someone getting better. Those developments have led to many predicting that Murphy will be the main breakout player for the team in 2015.
When speaking about Murphy on Thursday, Jay Gruden said some things that will only add fuel to the hype behind #93's sophomore season.
"Trent Murphy has done a really excellent job," Gruden said in his press conference before the first practice of training camp. "In OTAs, he probably had about 15 sacks, would've been sacks if we let the whistle blow. He's really put on some weight. He's stronger. He looks a little quicker. And he's got great knowledge of the system."
Gruden is especially fond of Murphy's enthusiastic work ethic.
"He's like a puppy -- he just gets in the weight room and he's just gonna get stronger and stronger and he's gonna become an angry dog here before too long," Gruden said.
The starting job opposite of Ryan Kerrigan is currently up for grabs, as Murphy and rookie Preston Smith will be competing for the right to play there Week 1. Gruden acknowledged that taking Murphy's name off the top of the depth chart may be difficult, though.
"Trent's gonna be a tough guy to get out of that lineup. He plays hard, he's a physical guy, he's long, and he can move around quite a bit. Preston, we're excited about what he can do, and we got some young guys that played a lot last year that had to play when Orakpo got hurt and Trent got hurt, so those guys will also compete too."
Competition is never a bad thing for a football team looking to get better across the board. And while it's obviously very early in the process, it sounds like Murphy has a leg up on everyone else for the other outside linebacker spot.