LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
Kenneth Murray probably will play the most impactful role out of any prospect this year. Murray is clearly the middle linebacker of the future for the team. Denzel Perryman is currently heading into the last year of his deal, but his snap counts have been declining. It’s safe to say he’s not in the Chargers’ long term plans.
While Perryman has been a good run stopper, Murray is able to simply do more. He ran a 4.52 at the combine, which speaks to his ability to be fast enough to make plays in space. Frankly, with the departure of Thomas Davis, it wouldn’t surprise me if Murray stepped in and led the team in tackles next year. His snap count as the year goes on will be high for a rookie linebacker.
One criticism Murray gets is that he isn’t as refined in pass coverage as other linebackers. The truth is that he wasn’t really used in coverage at Oklahoma. That isn’t for a lack of athleticism either, as it’s simply more about Oklahoma’s defensive scheme. With his insane athleticism and tackling ability, I have a hard time believing he’s going to be limited to anything less than an eventual three-down linebacker.
With the number of snaps he’s going to get, Murray will rack up a lot of tackles. He’s an instant defensive star. His instincts lead to very quick decision-making on plays.
Personally, Patrick Queen appealed to me a little bit more as a prospect, but it’s easy to see why the Chargers were so high on Murray. If anything the two are 1A and 1B as the best linebackers from this draft. Murray gives off strong defensive rookie of the year vibes with his style of play and impact.