The man they call “Meat” who is better known as “K-9” amongst his peers, is Kenneth Murray Jr. who will be the LA Chargers new rookie linebacker.
Over the past few decades the Chargers have been known as one of those organizations that “plays it safe”. After each season, there’s many free agents or special incoming talent in the draft; well 2020 has been a year of full surprises, and what better way to surprise the NFL by trading picks & being rewarded with Kenneth Murray Jr. The Chargers with their slick draft positioning traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks for the New England Patriots 23rd overall pick.
This past week, I was fortunate enough to be granted an interview with the inside linebacker coach Brian Odom where he was able to elaborate in detail regarding Murray’s best assets to his game. We also discussed how coach Odom expect Murray to have a smooth transition in the NFL; even with Coach Odom only coached Murray for a year, he realized that Murray was a generational talent that will be hard to replace.
Kenneth Murray’s strengths are his speed, athleticism, intelligence, and that he’s highly competitive; he’s also someone that will wreak havoc sideline to sideline, possesses great eye discipline with his keys, and will come to work every day to enhance his game. “His speed, athleticism, I think when you start looking a little deeper and get to know the kid, he’s intelligent, I think his greatest strength is his ability to be competitive, and the way he goes to work every day.” Coach Odom said. In the 2020 Scouting Combine, Murray displayed his speed by running a 4.52, which is blazing for a linebacker.
Far from average, he displayed explosiveness by jumping 38 inches to go along with his 10-feet-9 inches broad jump, which is impressive for his position and with a injured hamstring. “As far as weaknesses, we always can get better, and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the greatest of the great, or myself. There’s things that throughout his game that I think he’ll acknowledge that it’s not perfect. There’s nothing that’s glowing like ‘he can’t do this’. Now I think one of the things this past off-season that we identified from previous years since I only coached him this past year was his ability to be able to have confidence in his speed and pursuit of quarterbacks, and open field tackles.” Coach Odom stated. Kenneth Murray doesn’t really have any physical weaknesses, it’s more along the lines of confidence in which he tends to second guess his speed and at times will take bad angles to the football.
Kenneth Murray’s presence in the locker room will be hard to replace. He will speak when it’s time to speak up but his play on the field spoke volumes. As he prepares to enter the LA Chargers locker room, you can expect the locker room to welcome him with open arms. “The things you don’t see is his presence in the locker room to the public eye, and he has been preparing for this moment for a long time in his life, he’s been preparing to go into a locker room of grown men, guys that are successful professional athletes, and being able to not only fit in, he’ll handle it the right way but he’ll go in and he’ll gain respect pretty quick and it’s not because of being out spoken, it’ll be by his actions, how he carries himself, how he goes to work, and in the consistent nature how he does it.” Coach Odom said.
Murray has carried himself like a professional so he should not only fit in but actually have a voice in the locker room as a rookie. Leadership isn’t based on genetics, it’s based on someone’s heart which was displayed by Murray when he saved an unconscious woman on an Arlington, TX sidewalk in July 2019. He arrived on the scene & was able to revive her with CPR which reflects why his selfless persona may be better than his playmaking ability on the field.
Kenneth Murray Jr. was a transcending talent in the Sooners’ defense. Talented players usually lack attention to detail, are unable to lead men, or are boastful; however Murray is a guy who fits every piece of this puzzle as a generational talent & will be extremely difficult for Oklahoma to replace. “I’ll probably never coach another guy like him.” Coach Odom said.