How did Myles Murphy do in his Cincinnati Bengals debut?

The Bengals spent their first-round pick on Murphy in this year's draft.
Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout
Cincinnati Bengals Offseason Workout / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

One of the best parts of preseason games is that we finally get to see the most recent draft picks in action. Naturally, the one we are usually most excited to watch is the first-round pick. For the Cincinnati Bengals, that would be Myles Murphy

How did Murphy do in his preseason debut against the Green Bay Packers? The answer to that question will depend primarily on what your expectations were for him to begin with. 

The Bengals selected Murphy in the first round, 28th overall of this year’s draft. While some thought he would help improve the team’s low sack numbers, his college numbers and the film did not back that up. Murphy was listed as a newcomer that could surprise fans this season is because if he becomes a player that could reach double-digit sacks, that would be a revelation.

As far as preseason debuts go, Murphy’s followed the script. We got a glimpse of what to expect from the rookie and contrary to what is percolating on the Twitter machine, err, “X,” there were positive moments. 

Breaking down Myles Murphy's Cincinnati Bengals debut

The former Clemson Tiger showed his strong play against the run, keeping contain on a WR sweep and making the tackle on the first play of the second quarter. He displayed the strength to shed a block and the agility to tackle a receiver in the open field. Unfortunately, that tackle didn’t get recorded because of a defensive penalty... but it happened. 

He also flashed some of his hustle and quickness, tracking down the running back going away from Murphy’s side of the line early in the third quarter. 

Murphy did have a couple of positive reps when pass-rushing. With 1:27 to go in the second quarter and the Packers backed up near their goal line, he bull-rushed the left tackle, who needed assistance from the left guard to impede Murphy’s progress.

On the very next play, the rookie edge rusher was a step late in getting to Sean Clifford for what would have been a possible strip sack if the Packers QB had held the ball for half a second longer. 

On those consecutive plays, he displayed the power and quickness when rushing the passer the coaches need to see from him. That is the potential that he possesses. 

Both those plays came against Green Bay’s fourth-round pick from last year, Rasheed Walker. When the Packers review the film, they will say Murphy won those particular matchups. 

However, besides two pass rush reps, Murphy was stifled without much trouble. He will need to show that he can be a consistent pass-rush threat against second-string caliber offensive tackles to ease the consternation of some fans. 

Murphy spent the evening exclusively at defensive end. Perhaps we will see him take some snaps at defensive tackle next week, allowing him to pass rush from the interior of the defensive line. 

He alternated between two and three-point stances while he was on the field. We are accustomed to seeing this from Lou Anarumo’s edge rushers. We also saw him drop in pass coverage a couple of times. 

Murphy’s night ended late in the third quarter. The rookie edge rusher finished the game with two tackles and one hit on the quarterback.

Head coach Zac Taylor kept it extremely brief in his postgame press conference when asked about Murphy's performance saying, “We’ll have to watch more. I saw him in there making some plays in the run game. So again, we’ll have a better chance to evaluate those guys when we watch more of the tape.”

In the end, Murphy was what we expected him to be. He is a good run defender who will use his strength and athleticism to occasionally beat an offensive tackle for pressure or a sack. However, if you were expecting seven sacks from him, you were sure to come away disappointed.


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The next preseason matchup is Friday, August 18th, versus Atlanta. Let’s hope the rookie continues to develop how the coaches need him to and can make a splash play or two against the Falcons, showing off his explosiveness and pass-rush potential.