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2024 NFL Draft odds: Texas’ Byron Murphy II gaining steam to be first defensive player selected

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A new prospect is in the running to be the first defensive player off the board in Thursday’s NFL Draft. 

After being merely an afterthought less than a week ago, Byron Murphy II is rocketing up mock drafts, leaving oddsmakers to wonder whether he could be the first defender to have his name called. 

Last Friday, Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner was a heavy favorite to be that player, sitting at -145 at DraftKings Sportsbook

But over the past few days, Murphy, the defensive tackle from Texas, gained a ton of steam among draft experts and Vegas bookies. 

2024 NFL Draft: First defensive player picked odds

Player Position School Odds
Dallas Turner Edge Alabama +145
Byron Murphy II Defensive Tackle Texas +170
Laiatu Latu Edge UCLA +190
Jared Verse Edge Florida State +1000
Quinyon Mitchell Cornerback Toledo +1500
Terrion Arnold Cornerback Alabama +1800
Odds via DraftKings

Murphy has gone from +1000 to +170 to be the first defensive player selected Thursday. He’s now just a hair behind Turner, who has fallen to +145. 

UCLA pass rusher Laiatu Latu has also become a bigger part of the conversation, going from +275 last week to +190. 

No other defensive player has odds better than +1000 to be the first selected. 


Byron Murphy II starred for Texas. Getty Images

Murphy’s odds shift comes after his comments this week to the Dallas Morning News, stating that he thinks he’ll go in the first half of the first round

NFL insiders Daniel Jeremiah and Adam Schefter both floated Murphy as a player who may go earlier than expected. 

“One of the things that’s been kicked around — the name that, if you asked me who the surprise top-10 pick is or somebody we just didn’t see coming, to me that’s Byron Murphy,” Jeremiah said last week, via Sports Illustrated


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Schefter wrote this week that some team officials have told him Murphy has a “realistic chance” to be the first defensive player off the board, fueling the prospect’s draft stock. 

“It’s possible a defender might not be picked until Atlanta at No. 8 or Chicago at No. 9. Murphy could be a consideration for both teams,” Schefter wrote.

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