With the No. 28 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected edge Myles Murphy.
Murphy, a former Clemson standout, has excellent size and physical traits. The addition of Murphy gives the Bengals another top-tier edge rusher to pair with Sam Hubbard, Trey Hendrickson and Joseph Ossai.
"You can never have enough defensive linemen," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said. "We feel like we got a really good one that’s going to add to the mix for us, really help complement the guys that we have and really make that a strong as a room as possible. So we’re really excited to get Myles in here.”
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After finishing No. 29 in the NFL in sacks last season, the Bengals went into the offseason wanting to improve their pass rush. With Murphy, Cincinnati is getting a defensive player who recorded 139 tackles, 17.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and six pass breakups over 38 games. Murphy started 27 games at Clemson and was a first-team All-ACC selection in his final season as a Tiger.
Bengals were surprised Myles Murphy was available at 28
Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo and Taylor said they didn't envision a scenario in which Murphy would be available when Cincinnati got on the clock.
"This wasn't a scenario we thought was going to play out for us to be quite honest with you," Taylor said. "Anything can happen but in all of our discussions we had over the previous days I didn't think Myles Murphy was going be there at No. 28."
Murphy is 6-foot-5 and 268 pounds with an 81-inch wingspan. He has rare blend of size, length and explosion for his position. These are the traits that made Anarumo and the Bengals believe he can add to their group in the trenches.
Throughout his career at Clemson, Murphy has proven to be able to play in any type of defensive front. He has the prototypical build of a 4-3 defensive end but due to his athleticism and fluidity in his movement, he can drop into coverage as well. That’s an important trait in Anarumo’s scheme.
"(We) get a guy that brings position flex — he’s played both outside and inside (and) can rush from different spots," Anarumo said of Murphy. "(With) the teams we have to play and when we have to play them, the more rushers we have on the field at one time, the better we’ll be. He’s the guy who will fit right in with that in that moment.”
A former five-star prospect of Hillgrove High School in Ga., Murphy showed consistency at Clemson. In every season, he played at least 12 games and recorded 11.0 tackles for loss and four sacks. Over the course of his final two seasons, Murphy totaled 13.5 sacks.
When asked his reaction to being selected by the Bengals after taking a pre-draft visit to Cincinnati, Murphy expressed his desire to get on the field and prove himself. Anarumo said Murphy will "be in the mix" right away and he will find ways to get him on the field.
Myles Murphy on the Bengals: 'They have all the pieces to be a Super Bowl contender'
Murphy believes he could be the missing piece to help get the Bengals over the hump and win a Lombardi Trophy.
"They have all the pieces to be a Super Bowl contender," Murphy said late Thursday night. "I just want to be that finishing piece that pushes them over that edge of being a Super Bowl contender to a Super Bowl winner every year."
With the number of talented quarterbacks in the AFC, the Bengals understand the importance of beefing up their defensive line. The more pressure Cincinnati can put on their opponents, the better. With Murphy, the Bengals can put together multiple rush packages. Multiplicity is important to Anarumo as he's known for his ability to keep his opponent second-guessing.
When the No. 28 pick was approaching, the Bengals could have gone a few different ways. Tight end Michael Mayer, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and edge Nolan Smith all seemed like viable options for Cincinnati. Murphy was the highest-graded player on their board and director of personnel Duke Tobin stayed true to who he is and took the best player available instead of reaching for a need.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: 2023 NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals select Clemson DE Myles Murphy