Will stud DT Byron Murphy be available when the Jaguars pick at No. 17?

• The Jags may need to trade up in the 1st-round to draft DT Byron Murphy.

Nov 18, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) celebrates
Nov 18, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive lineman Byron Murphy II (90) celebrates / Aaron E. Martinez-USA TODAY Sports

If the Jacksonville Jaguars want to take a defensive tackle in the first round of the draft, they should go with Byron Murphy II. The issue is that he may not make it to No. 17, especially after such an amazing outing at the NFL Scouting Combine. If the Jags want to have a legitimate chance to land him, they may need to trade up to get him.

Jacksonville managed to choose Murphy in CBS Sports' latest mock draft. Kyle Stackpole was responsible for putting it together. He rightfully points out that the Jaguars hardly got any pressure inside in 2023 and believes Murphy could help them fix this issue.

"A few weeks ago, I had the Jaguars taking defensive tackle Johnny Newton. This time around, I have them taking Byron Murphy. The reasoning remains the same: the Jaguars need to get more pressure from the interior defensive line, and Murphy can be that guy."

Murphy was projected to go in the first-round pick and he likely solidify his place in the top 15 after testing well in the combine. Besides running the 40-yard dash in 4.88, he posted a 33-inch broad jump and had a 9'3" vertical. Draft analyst Matt Miller says that he might've ranked him too low when he put him at No. 13 on his big board.

At 6'1" and 308 pounds, Murphy doesn't have the prototypical size to play defensive tackle in the NFL. However, his on-field production, along with his outstanding numbers at the combine, should make scouts feel comfortable about drafting him in the first round. Having spent his two first seasons with the Longhorns as a backup, he had a breakout year in 2023.

Murphy has the burst and quickness to beat offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage. He's also shown the ability to win with an array of pass-rush moves, although he still needs to hone his arsenal. When you take into account that most of his issues are fixable with coaching, he would be a great pick for the Jaguars at No. 17. Here's Murphy running the 40-yard dash.

Why the Jaguars may need to trade up to draft Byron Murphy

The Jaguars could most definitely use better pass rush from their interior offensive line. While Foloruso Fatukasi's main role in 2023 wasn't to get after the quarterback, he wasn't particularly good at taking on blocks and collapsing the pocket. Similarly, Roy Roberston-Harris and DaVon Hamilton are dependable, but not the kind of players offensive coordinators will spend the night game-planning for.

Murphy would give the Jaguars a dominant defensive tackle/end who could make everyone's job easier. While Travon Walker and Josh Allen were productive last year, they could find more favorable matchups and be even better with Murphy in the mix. The issue is that Jacksonville won't be the only team interested in drafting him in the first round.

Clubs such as the Las Vegas Raiders, the Seattle Seahawks, and the New York Giants could target Byron Murphy, so the Jags may need to trade up a few spots if they want to land him. Both the Raiders and the Giants could go the quarterback route but nobody will bat an eye if either one ends up taking Murphy.

The Giants could select a quarterback at No. 4 but if they choose Murphy, it would be game over for the Jaguars. On the other hand, Las Vegas holds the 13th selection, so the Jags would need to move up at least five spots to swoop in and land Murphy. That could turn out to be a bit costly.

In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars would need to see how the draft unfolds before they consider trading up. Heck, they may even be more interested in other prospects than Byron Murphy. Then again, they shouldn't pass up the chance to take him if he's available at No. 17

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