Diving into Tom Telesco’s biggest draft-day trade of his tenure and the selection of linebacker Kenneth Murray at No. 23 in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After selecting Justin Herbert at No. 6 overall the Chargers decided they were not done for the night and traded their 2020 second and third-round picks for the New England Patriots’ 23rd overall pick in the draft. They used the pick to select star linebacker out of Oklahoma, Kenneth Murray.
Murray is an immensely talented linebacker with the ability to play all three downs and finally, provide the boost the Chargers’ linebacker corps has been missing for so long.
With true sideline to sideline speed, Murray has the ability to cover running backs out of the backfield and tight ends across the middle which will prove useful against their divisional rivals and current Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Murray will be instrumental in slowing down the offensive arm’s race occurring in the AFC West in the draft.
Murray showed improvement in each of his three seasons at Oklahoma and showed that he could be a leader and tone-setter on the defensive side of the ball. His insane burst at the snap and his ability to shoot gaps leads to some ferocious tackles in the backfield that will inspire every player on the Chargers defense.
While Murray has a very high ceiling, he is not without flaws. He can sometimes find himself over pursuing and taking himself out of plays with a lack of patience and improper play recognition. He will need to learn to successfully assess gaps and offensive line schemes at a higher rate at the next level if he wants to become a star in the league.
Giving up their second and third-round draft picks seems like a high price to pay but if Murray can reach his ceiling in the NFL, the Chargers could potentially have an all pro level player at every level of their defense.