Kenneth Murray’s biggest concern with the LA Chargers: Pass coverage
When the LA Chargers traded their second and third-round pick to move back into the first round with the 23rd overall selection, many Charger fans expected the team to select Patrick Queen. Queen was the best coverage linebacker in the draft outside of Isaiah Simmons and would have fit the identity of this Chargers’ defense perfectly.
They didn’t. Instead, they went with the linebacker who was ahead of Queen on many people’s draft boards, Kenneth Murray. It was an exciting selection, as the Chargers got another great athlete and leader on the defense, but his flaws were quickly pointed out by Charger fans.
The biggest flaw being that Murray only had six pass breakups in three seasons with the Oklahoma Sooners. With the Chargers’ tendency to focus on stopping the pass and bringing in coverage linebackers, this was touted as a problem by some.
I do not think it is a big problem, as that is not what Murray is going to be doing with the Chargers. He finally gives the team a legitimate run-stuffing inside linebacker that is going to attack running lanes and force teams to throw it.
It is worth mentioning, though, that to become a true every-down linebacker on the Chargers, he is going to have to show progress in pass defense. He is definitely capable and has the athleticism to spy a quarterback like Lamar Jackson or play man-to-man against tight ends of running backs, but he has to show that his athleticism will translate to results at the NFL level.
If so, he will be a legitimate every-down backer for the Chargers. If not, his usage in the NFL will be restricted in some capacity.