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Colts hold private meeting with UCLA edge rusher Gabriel Murphy

The Indianapolis Colts were one of several teams to reportedly host a private meeting with UCLA edge rusher Gabriel Murphy, according to Aaron Wilson.

Along with the Colts, Houston, Cincinnati, and New England also held private meetings while Murphy visited Minnesota.

Murphy is a bit undersized at 6-2, 247 pounds, but is a very good athlete. He recorded an elite Relative Athletic Score of 9.28, with a 40-time of 4.68 seconds, along with elite vertical and broad jump numbers.

Murphy’s size may not deter the Colts, but it is also worth noting that he has arms under 31 inches, which could impact where he falls on Chris Ballard’s big board.

Murphy played 2,106 career defensive snaps over five seasons, the last two of which have come at UCLA. During that span, he recorded 104 total pressures and 10 sacks.

In 2023 specifically, Murphy’s 61 pressures were the seventh-most among edge rushers, and he ranked 10th in pass-rush win rate. Against the run, Murphy’s grade from PFF ranked 35th out of 200 eligible defenders.

He’s also played 305 special teams snaps during his collegiate career, most of which came on the kick return, punt return, and field goal blocking units.

For more on Murphy, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had this to say in his pre-draft report:

“What Murphy lacks in size and length he makes up for with skill and production. He’s short-armed, which will worry teams on the pro level, but his hands are so sudden and polished that it tends to ease concerns. He works his hands and feet in perfect harmony to elude blockers like a shifty runner eluding tacklers. Murphy could struggle to survive against run blockers who square him up, but he typically finds a way to slither out of sustain attempts on the collegiate level. He failed to dominate one-on-one opportunities at East-West Shrine Bowl practices, but his ability to maneuver into the backfield as a run defender and pass rusher has merit and should give him a shot to become a solid 3-4 edge rusher.”

The Colts have both a short-term need at edge rusher and potentially a long-term one as well.

Despite finishing the 2023 season ranked fifth in sacks, the Colts didn’t get after the quarterback all that consistently, ranking 23rd in total pressures, meaning they were really efficient in converting those pressure opportunities into sacks.

From a sustainability standpoint in 2024, statistically speaking, replicating that level of sack production on, relatively speaking, so few pressures will be difficult to maintain.

On top of that, if we look ahead to next offseason, both Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo are set to be free agents. In the coming weeks, the Colts have to make a decision on Paye’s fifth-year option.

Murphy is ranked as the 116th overall prospect on the consensus big board.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire