Round 6: Kyle Murphy, OT
To end their draft, Green Bay closed with another offensive lineman.
As mentioned with Spriggs earlier, the pick of Murphy has an eye towards 2017. Someone from the Sitton, Lang, Bakhtiari, Tretter group most likely is going to move on, and even if they don’t, having contingencies in place is usually a smart move. You never know what might happen, and teams would be wise to prep for the unexpected.
Think back to last season again. The offensive line came off a year where they could legitimately be in the conversation for the best units in the league, but then got hit hard by injuries to just about everyone in the group. Lang missed a game, Bakhtiari missed two, Linsley missed three, Bulaga missed four, and everybody was playing through some sort of injury. When those guys went down, the backups in place were unable to step up as needed all too often.
Don Barclay graded out as the second worst player at any position by PFF’s grading (25.7; 0-100 scale), Josh Walker was manhandled (most notably in that Week 15 matchup against Arizona), Tretter mixed bad (the safety in the playoff game against Washington) with good (pretty much the rest of that aforementioned Washington game), and Lane Taylor ended up grading out as below-average in his time of the field.
Picks like Spriggs and Murphy will hopefully provide a competent boost in the short-term if those situations pop up again.
In terms of what he brings to the table, Murphy has tools to work with. His size is desirable in a lineman (6-foot-6, 305 pounds). He is sound in his technique and shows patience. His footwork is good and we shouldn’t expect to see him put himself in bad positions.
By PFF’s ratings, he earned a 97.8 pass blocking efficiency grade (sixth-best among major conference linemen). His consistency saw him receive bad grades in pass blocking only twice the past two years.
His floor is higher than any other top-level lineman from this class, but the reason he fell is his ceiling.
His foot speed is average, despite seeming to move well in space. His run blocking technique is on point, but it doesn’t translate to the passing game, allowing power-based defenders to bowl through him. The Stanford offense likely helped cover his issues too, which means he could be exposed if he doesn’t improve the areas he currently is lacking in.
In Green Bay, he isn’t likely to see much usage at first if health doesn’t force the usual starters off the field. He’ll be a nice contingency if injuries do hit again, and will give the Packers some leverage to point to in negotiations with their many set-to-be free agents from the offensive line.