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Tuesday, May 20, 2014
How the Redskins' rookies fit: Trent Murphy

By John Keim

The Redskins knew they couldn't count on a draft pick starting immediately, not without a first-round pick. If it happened? Great. So they filled their perceived immediate needs in free agency and hoped several in the draft class could fill roles, some more prominent.

Coach Jay Gruden said what the Redskins did in free agency and the fact that none need to start should let the rookies develop. I'll take a look at how the rookies fit in and when they might be needed to play bigger roles.

Player: Trent Murphy

Where he’s slated: Third linebacker behind Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. The Redskins love his versatility, which gives them the ability to rush three linebackers from various spots. In theory, they can take better advantage of matchups by moving them around. Also, they can throw a curve at the offense by, say, having Orakpo rush against a tackle for a number of sets then bring in Murphy, who has a different assortment of moves.

Future role: Starter. If you’re a second-round pick, this should always be the eventual role.

When he might need to be ready: If Orakpo leaves via free agency after this season (it’s not a foregone conclusion; the Redskins could always re-sign him and, if Murphy proves capable of more, let Kerrigan walk after 2015). It’ll depend on Murphy’s development plus the asking price by the others. If the pass rush works well with all three, then it would be silly to break that up considering the premium teams place on this area. Money can be saved elsewhere.

What he must work on: Being more consistent with his arms on the rush, getting stronger and bigger to better help in the run game and setting the edge. He does not have the same get-off as Orakpo, but is a different rusher. If he develops other parts of his rush, his burst won’t matter quite as much.