This offseason Trent Murphy bulked up to switch from outside linebacker to 3-4 defensive end. The third-year pro out of Stanford added close to 30 lbs. of muscle onto his frame to take on the more consistent blocking of offensive linemen, but the move was largely predicated on the Redskins deploying Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith and Junior Galette from the outside linebacker spots.
Well, that plan has changed.
Galette will miss the 2016 season with a torn Achilles, and now the Redskins edge rushing linebacker group has gone from team strength to thin on the depth chart. A natural question then would be can Murphy shift back to the outside linebacker spot he played his first two years in the league?
"I have no idea," Ryan Kerrigan said about the move. "Who knows if that would be a possibility."
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In two seasons with Washington, Murphy's numbers have been pedestrian, especially considering his second round draft status in 2014. As a rookie he notched 2.5 sacks in just eight starts and forced two fumbles. Last year, his sack total increased to 3.5 in 15 starts.
Murphy may be best suited as a 3-4 defensive end, especially with the added weight, as a run-stuffing defender. Strength has never been the issue for Murphy, where as lack of edge speed became apparent against NFL tackles.
"He’s carrying it pretty well," Kerrigan said of Murphy's added bulk. "He definitely looks bigger and stronger."
This situation is unique: playing defensive end might be the best position for Murphy, but with the Galette injury, the 'Skins might need more capable if not spectacular outside linebackers.
What should the Redskins do with Murphy - leave him at DE or move him back to OLB? Let us know what you think in the comments.