A Cornerback like Jerome Murphy may be thought of by some as not that high of a need, but he's an aggressive hardnosed, hard hitting player that brings a nasty attitude to your Rams defense.
He had an INT and Fumble Recovery in the International Bowl, so its nice to know he has the ability to show up in big games. I think we're going to love watching him crush people. You have to love the fact that he knows about the GSOT and vows to put on a show for us.
For those of you (us) that can't get enough of our new Rams, here's some other opinions, in hopefully a little easier to read format:
Overall Rank: 60 (actually drafted: 65)
Position rank: 7 (actually drafted: 8)
Cornerback Specific Traits
Fluidity: 3 - Can flip hips when forced to turn and run with receivers. Frequently dropped into zone coverage during film evaluation (see: 2008 North Carolina State and Kansas games). Footwork is inconsistent and can get spun around but appears athletic enough to develop functional man-to-man cover skills.
Closing Burst : 2 - Above-average closing speed and limits receivers' production after the catch, but not elite and gives receivers too much of a cushion at times. Allows too much separation at times and can be a step late getting to the ball. Adequate-to-good recovery speed.
Ball Skills: 3 - Times jumps well and can high-point the ball. Flashes the ability to snatch the ball out of the air but lacks elite hands and doesn't always field the ball cleanly. Tracks the ball well when it's in front of him but needs to do a better of getting his head around in time when asked to turn and run with receivers.
Instincts/Mental Toughness: 3 - Shows good awareness and reads routes well when dropping into zone coverage but gambles and gets caught out of position at times. Motor is a bit inconsistent but effort is excellent at times. Doesn't appear to back down from challenges or dwell on mistakes. Plays with an edge and can get his hands on receivers but doesn't deliver a violent punch and will have a difficult time re-routing receivers at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes over-commits to a receiver's first move and can get caught-off balance when asked to line up in press coverage.
Run Support: 3 - Could be more aggressive but fills hard when he reads run and is not afraid to throw his body around. Does a good of cutting the legs out from under bigger ball carriers but doesn't always wrap up. Takes too long to disengage from blocks at times.
Murphy was a productive two-year starter for the Bulls. He is a tall, lean secondary defender with deceptive strength. He is a tough hardnosed perimeter defender who lacks great quickness and speed to play out on an island in man coverages. Murphy is a physical corner who can jam and reroute receivers off the line of scrimmage and he's a solid run support defender. He is an instinctive player who leverages the ball well in coverage as well as maintaining proper body positioning defending the run. He can be inconsistent in block protection and wrapping up in the open field, but he is very aggressive for the cornerback position. Murphy is a good football player who has some limitations but should contribute as a rookie in a Cover 2 defensive scheme.
Strengths: Long with adequate bulk and fluid hips. Anticipates routes while dropping back in zone coverage and does a good job of tracking the play. Good leaper who high-points the ball. Fiery and aggressive defender who fills hard and likes to deliver shots.
Weakness: Average speed and lateral quickness limit his effectiveness in man coverage. Footwork is a little sloppy, and he sometimes gets spun around. Gives too much of a cushion and breaks on the ball a little late. Bit of a gambler who can get caught out of position. Does not always wrap when tackling.
The Rams get a good value here and also fill a huge need. Murphy is a smooth athlete whose fluid hips help him flow nicely all over the field in coverage. He can close on receivers in a blink.
Coverage skills 7.0: Is better man-to-man than in "off" coverage. Tends to gamble too often when off the ball, watching the quarterback instead of receiver. Gives up easy throws in front of him. Is physical in press coverage, and has quick feet and fluid hip movement. Can slide along the line of scrimmage with the receiver and still stay in the receiver's hip pocket. Struggles vs. big physical receivers. Must get stronger and tougher.
Run/pass recognition 7.5: Is quick to show up in the running game. Shows good football intelligence, and seems to understand his job. Plays with a lot of confidence and will take risks to try and make a play.
Closing speed 8.0: Is good in this area. Has good range and can get into a second gear to make a play. Has smooth acceleration and short-area burst. Sticks his foot in the ground and goes.
Ball skills 6.5: Tracks the ball well in the air. Has soft hands. Battles the ball at times and will get more breakups than interceptions. Baits the quarterback at times, only to lose his coverage responsibility.
Run support 6.0: Is more of a cut or drag-down tackler. Does not run away from tackles, but appears to hope teammates beat him to the ballcarrier.
Bottom line: Murphy is a smooth athlete with fluid hip movement. He has good speed and quickness, too. He is best when he can line up tight to the receiver off the line of scrimmage and play man-to-man. He is physical enough to reroute receivers and has very good flexibility to shuffle with receivers to prevent them from getting free releases.
He can turn and run to stay in tight downfield coverage with no wasted movements. He plays with confidence and can run the route for the receiver. He struggles against big, physical receivers, especially in contested situations, and must improve his strength and toughness. He sometimes gets greedy in zone coverage and will try to bait the quarterback, only to lose his coverage responsibility.
However, Murphy has a different gear with the ball in the air and has a natural feel for when to get his head around and make a play on the ball. He has good range and can get from one hash to the other to make a play on the ball. Overall, Murphy is a cover corner who plays with the attitude that he cannot be beaten. He has a swagger to his game, and with his size-to-speed ratio, he should be one of the top CBs drafted in 2010.