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ROOKIE SPOTLIGHT: Trent Murphy

Posted Aug 1, 2014

During training camp, Redskins.com's Stephen Czarda will provide an in-depth look at the drafted rookies, both on and off the field. Today's spotlight is on Trent Murphy.

When the Washington Redskins used their first selection on linebacker Trent Murphy in May’s NFL Draft, questions quickly surfaced.

Why would the Redskins take a player who plays the same position as their two young Pro Bowlers? How would he fit in? Can he be as effective as a pass-rusher in the NFL as he was at Stanford University?

Only one week into training camp, and Murphy has already proven that he has a bright future ahead regardless of where he’s lined up or when he’ll get in on the action.

In fact, his longstanding athletic ability has already started to gel nicely with a better understanding of the NFL style of play.   

“Trent’s long and has the ability to bend, and that’s very exciting,” said head coach Jay Gruden. “We can move him around. The progress that he’s made from the OTAs, his strength is getting better, the knowledge of the game. He’s going to work at it. He’s a true football-playing grinding machine. He loves the game. He loves to play. He loves to work. He loves to study. He’s just going to continue to get better.”

During a stellar senior season at Stanford last year, the 6-foot-5 linebacker tore apart the competition en route to an NCCA-high 15 sacks. He punctuated the season with a two-sack performance vs. Michigan State in the Rose Bowl and consensus All-American honors.

Throughout the season, Murphy was an active force who mostly had his hands in the dirt. But going into the draft, he was seen more as a linebacker than defensive lineman.

“I think I’m a dynamic player, and that’s kind of what I was seen as coming into the draft,” Murphy explained. “That’s what I want to use here. It’s fortunate to have that background at Stanford that I can use and do a little bit of everything.”

Some of the best tools Murphy has at his disposal are Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo – both of whom also played defensive end in college.

Each was thrust into a large role as a rookie and thrived. Murphy is certainly hoping to do the same while learning the ropes from both. At times, this has come on the fly as he’s been on the field with both at the same time.

“Those two are great to learn from,” Murphy said. “There aren’t many other guys if any that are better than them, so it raises the level of competition and expectation level of all the guys in our group.”

Working With Haslett
Tough. Smart. Hardworking with a throwback personality.

All three were labels on his NFL.com draft profile. They also sound like they could be used to describe Jim Haslett’s – defensive coordinator – career as a player.

Splitting time between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, Haslett was a very physical player who made his mark by getting into the opponent’s head.

Carrying over that attitude to his coaching philosophy, Murphy has thoroughly enjoyed learning under Haslett and said he’s “blessed to have him.”

“He’s awesome,” Murphy said. “I love his mentality. I love what he wants us to do on defense which is play fast and get after our opponent.”

“He’s the kind of coach you want to work for.”

Five W’s And One H

Who is the best pass rusher in NFL history?
“There’s not one, but there has been a ton of good guys.”

What is it like to have a dad who is so into fitness?

“It’s awesome. He’s always been into it. You grow up watching your dad lifting weights and that would be so important to him. It was great especially for football.”

Why did you choose Stanford?
“It’s kind of a cliché answer, but it was the best combination of athletics and academics, and I could get a Stanford degree and played in 4 BCS bowl games, so it’s hard to beat that.”

When will there be a Trent Murphy sack dance?
“It’s kind of my swag is not having any swag, so there probably won’t be too many sack dances.”

Where is the best place to horseback ride?
(Horseback riding is one of his favorite hobbies)

“ The best place in Arizona is all over the desert or in river bottoms where the sand is softer and ride an hour and a half in the mountains.”

How would you describe Virginia weather?
“It’s like Palo Alto, Calif. It’s great.”

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