meet the cubs: lydon murtha

>> 5.01.2009

copyright RRA Media

Lydon Murtha, Nebraska OT: the first of three picks in the seventh round, huge-framed (6'-7", 315) Lydon Murtha was a significant contributor at right tackle from day one.  A massive kid coming out of Minnesota, Lydon was a Rivals four-star, and Tom Lemming at ESPN had him as ranked as his class's #1 overall OT recruit, nationwide.   His official bio reveals how hard it is to write bios for players that don't generate statistics, but reading it definitely gives a sense of his career.  Murtha was going to play right away at Nebraska, but a smattering of injuries in spring ball and training camp got him a redshirt year.  As a redshirt frosh, he saw action in nine games, and was pressed into service for three starts at left tackle, due to an injury to the starter.  His sophomore year, he played every game, and again started three games at left tackle.  Finally, he got his chance to start in his junior season, starting this time at right tackle for the first eight games, until an injury forced him to the sidelines for the last four games.  Still, he made the Honorable Mention All-Big 12 list, and was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 first team.  His senior year, unfortunately, was a clone of his junior year.  He punished people from the right side for eight games--missing the first two and last two--and got another round of Honorable Mentions for his trouble.

There is no doubt that this kid has an NFL body:

Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Seriously, the guy is 6'-7", 315, and looks like he could add another 30 pounds of weight without even showing it.  At the combine, he led all offensive linemen with both his 4.89 40 time, and his 4.34 short shuttle.  Allow me to repeat that for emphasis: Lydon Murtha ran a 4.89 40  and 4.34 short shuttle at the combine.  These times are nearly identical to James Laurenitis', except Lydon is half a foot taller and 70 pounds heavier.  There's absolutely no doubt that physically, Murtha looks like a franchise tackle in the making.  He's got all the size, all the speed, all the agility.   The problem, of course, was right there in the bio: Murtha's been unable to stay healthy.  His senior year it was first a staph infection, then a sprained foot.  In 2007 it was a different foot injury.  In 2005 it was a bruised calf, a hamstring, and a shoulder . . . everything I've read says the same thing: the kid is a fine tackle when healthy, but there have been just enough nagging injuries to make you worry if he'll stay healthy.  The other issue is productivity.  He's been quite good when healthy, but not  the dominant force you'd expect given his size.  You can see it in how he was moved between right and left tackle . . . if he was unreservedly amazing, he'd have been placed at LT and left there.

Nevertheless, what expert analysis I've read says they can't believe he was there for the Lions in the mid-seventh.  Here's an absolutely OUTSTANDING video breakdown of Murtha's skill set, as shown in predraft camps, practices, and the combine:

I think that tells you everything you need to know.  I truly believe that this kid has the ability to be a quality starter in the NFL--it's up to Murtha himself, as the video says.  However, it's also up to the Lions' coaching staff to properly build, groom, and motivate this young man so that he can become the player he was born with the potential to be.  

6 comments:

Anonymous,  May 1, 2009 at 6:22 PM  

Good read, Ty - all the best ~

HaMMeRSickle a/k/a GoLionsWin ;)

Ty May 2, 2009 at 9:10 AM  

Thanks, man! Stay tuned for more . . .

Peace
Ty

Eric May 3, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

Ty - thanks for the write up on Murtha, I had no idea this guy was such a beast!

Eric
(Sprawl125)

Square,  May 4, 2009 at 9:01 AM  

I've watched all of his games at Nebraska and I thought the Lions were lucky to get him so late in the draft. The value was definitely there so I think it was a wise choice. Murtha was constantly being shifted due to his injuries or injuries on the rest of the young Nebraska line. He showed flashes of potential but didn't dominate like his stats would indicate. He obviously had a heck of a combine and we'll see what happens with him. Nice write up to get other people aware of the talent/potential of some of these late rounders.

Ty May 4, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

Eric--

You're welcome, man. We'll see what happens with each of the third-rounders; Follett and Murtha have great God-given talent and play crucial positions. Edge pass rushers and left tackles are two of the most premium spots on the roster, if either ever start a game for the Lions these picks were home runs.

Peace
Ty

Ty May 4, 2009 at 11:13 AM  

Eric--

And by "third rounders", I of course meant seventh. Yikes.

Square--

It's nice to hear that from someone who actually saw him play; I am not a big college football guy and almost never watch Big 12. I wonder if he's actually injury-prone or just doesn't play with pain--he was apparently held out of minicamp this weekend with a hammy tweak (of course, as Schwartz said they're being cautious, almost to a fault, right now). Just on potential alone he's a steal as a seventh-rounder . . . if he ends up becoming the starting left tackle, that alone would make this draft a win.

Peace
Ty

Post a Comment


  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Find us on Google+

Back to TOP