Cardinals should draft Weber State defensive lineman McKay Murphy

The NFL Draft begins today and all the talk throughout the last four months have been about four quarterbacks. The Arizona Cardinals already got their quarterbacks through the free agent market but maybe draft one anyways.

But the Draft is won in the margins on the second and third day. Nick Foles won the Super Bowl last year with the Philadelphia Eagles and wasn’t drafted on the overly glorified first day. The Red Birds can make some sneaky good acquisitions by selecting Weber State defensive tackle McKay Murphy.

As a defensive tackle, Murphy has modeled his game to the likes of JJ Watt and Aaron Donald.

“I’ve always loved how versatile they are and how they can play any position on the defensive line,” Murphy said.

However, after talking to some NFL scouts, a hint of tight end could be in his future as well.

“I had a scout speak with me after my pro day about playing offense,” Murphy said. “At first I assumed he meant offensive line, but then he told me to start running routes and it took me a second to realize he was talking about me being a tight end. It stood out to me because it helped me understand that I have more to offer teams than just being a big body and playing only one position. I feel like I’m versatile and athletic enough to play on either side of the football.”

Murphy grew up in a pretty strict Latter-Day Saint home with six older brothers and a younger sister. He and his siblings were taught important principles like faith, obedience, and hard work. Murphy also came from an athletic family. His father, Dale Murphy was a long time member of the Atlanta Braves from 1976-90 and ended his career with the Colorado Rockies on their inaugural season in1993.

“He taught us all to love sports and to compete in every aspect of life,” Murphy said. “The principles I was taught in my home gave me a foundation to not only be successful in sports, but in life also. From as early as I could remember I was taught to be competitive, whether it was a board game or a whiffle ball home run derby in the backyard with my brothers. I was taught the value of hard work, I remember spending countless hours with my dad taking batting practice and trying to perfect every small detail. I think most importantly I was taught how to have fun and enjoy playing sports, to control the things that I could control.”

As the youngest son in his family, Murphy started going to his older brothers’ football games basically since he was born.

“I remember trying to play pee-wee football a few years before I met the minimum age-requirement,” Murphy said, “but I had to settle for flag football instead.”

He eventually made a name for himself in Lone Peak High School in his home state of Utah by recording 77 tackles with nine sacks on his senior season in 2012. He parlayed that to an athletic scholarship at the University of Utah. He was redshirt during his first season and saw the Utes thrash Weber State 77-7. In a surprising twist of fate, Murphy transferred to Weber State the next year.

“I wasn’t super excited at the thought of going to a team that was getting beat by 70 when playing against FBS teams,” Murphy said, “but over the last few years I was able to see our team improve from one of the worst teams in our conference and possibly the country, to Big Sky conference champions and finishing with a Top 5 ranking in the country.

Murphy’s favorite on-field memory at Weber State came in a rivalry game against Southern Utah when the Wildcats rallied from a 36-14 deficit to win the game 37-36 in seven minutes.

“Our defense started locking them down like we were supposed to and our offense caught fire and scored 23 unanswered points,” Murphy said. “It was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever played in.”

Hey may be a developmental project at the very beginning but with time, Murphy could be a major contributing factor.

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About: Tony Capobianco

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A graduate of the University of Arizona (2008-2013), Tony Capobianco covered sports from preps to pros since 2011 from the Tucson Citizen to Miami Herald to most recently with the Enid News & Eagle. The "Cuban Cowboy" took a first pitch to the nuts and lived to laugh at the viral video. Follow him @TonyCapobianco

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